Frequently Asked Questions

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Additive

How do I improve the surface finish of my AM component?

One of the drawbacks of Additive Manufacturing (AM) or 3D Printing (3DP) is the quality of the surface finish. Building parts layer by layer will naturally result in visible layering or ‘stair stepping’ as it is often known. Let’s take a look at three options to improve the surface finish of your AM components.

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What are the post finishing options for Additively Manufactured parts?

When producing parts through additive manufacturing processes, it often becomes necessary to post-process and finish components in order to get the desired cosmetic finish required. 

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What is the difference between Polyjet and Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)?

For those that do not recognise Polyjet, this is the process name behind the Objet line of printers. Today both processes are supplied by Stratasys and are not likely contenders to put against each other. That said there are some unexpected similarities!

Process choice, as is so often the case, hangs on your objectives.

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What are the material options for Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)?

FDM3D Printing, or Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) has hit the headlines time and time again emphasising how easy it is to do. Upload a design, press a button and away you go!

As with most things, there is slightly more to it than may be suggested. Stratasys have released a short video to help address the need for people to make material choices, and explains the effects each material can have on their product.

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How do polymers actually behave at high temperatures?

One of the questions we sometimes get asked is ‘How do polymers actually behave at high temperatures?’ or ‘What do the quoted thermal properties mean in reality?’

To answer these questions we thought we would describe what the tests are and how it is easiest to interpret them. Then we had a look at a practical example, testing the effects of temperature on the mechanical performance of a clear Stereolithography resin. 

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Which software can help generate lattice structures?

You have your new and improved design, but when you run it through simulation it is over-engineered, and a lot heavier than you'd like. So you just hollow it out...right?

The problem with this approach is a dramatic loss in mechanical strength. That key central material that made your part so effective at distributing load is no longer there, and subsequently you are in a bit of a bind.

The easiest solution would be to plough on with the inefficient design, but that would incur larger material costs, and more importantly would (to all intents and purposes) be giving up. You’re not ready to give up yet, so you are left with two choices: painstakingly create an internal structure by hand or use some form of magical software to generate this structure for you.

Recently there has been a large increase in the number of software packages available for such operations, due to the increasing ease with which such structures can be built care of additive manufacture.

"But which software should I use" you cry in confusion, "there are so many and they look terribly complicated?" Okay then…let's talk about lattice generation software.

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What information do I need to get the ball rolling on my project?

What do I need to know“The engineer’s first problem in any design situation is to discover what the problem really is.”

This pretty much sums up the challenge we face when we speak to a client for the first time on a new project!

We want to help get your part(s) made the best way we can. Thus knowledge of what you want from the part(s) is very useful and helps us select the most appropriate option.

Hence we thought it might be helpful to put together a checklist, which will help us give you a more accurate quote in as short a time frame as possible. 

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