Frequently Asked Questions

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Cosmetics

How do I create the WOW factor with my exhibition models?

Why is it so important that exhibition models are not only visually stunning, but also give the impression of a fully productionised product? Because first impressions really do count! Research shows that we make an initial visual impression in about one tenth of a second and that first impression stays with us throughout all future interaction – whether it is an impression of another person or a product.  We take a look at how to create the WOW factor with your exhibition models.

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Fed up with layers? Need a better cosmetic finish without paying the earth?

Additive manufacturing, with all the technical advances and media publicity within 3D printing, is certainly booming! Prototyping through methods, such as Stereolithography (SLA) or Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), give obvious time advantages over some of the more traditional methods, such as CNC machining, but have their own limitations such as accuracy and material choice.

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If my primary goal is a visual model, which process will give the best substrate?

The immediate thought is not to separately source the constituent parts and the finishing. The finish derived is predominantly a function of the model makers skill and as such a lead should be taken from his experience. (This is probably not the time to introduce a new material unless there is a good reason).

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Are vacuum castings painted or pigmented?

PU vacuum castings are typically used where small batch runs are required and frequently cross the line between prototype and production parts. As such their colour is extremely important and parts are usually supplied to a RAL or Pantone colour code.

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How do I get a metallic finish?

There are a number of processes that allow metallic finishes. Some seek to simulate the finish whilst others involve the deposition of a few micron thick metallic layer. Finishes in matt, gloss, brushed and satin can all be achieved and in a variety of metal ‘colours’.

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Can parts be metal plated?

Most RP parts (SLA, SLS, FDM, Perfactory) can be metal plated, or electroformed. Similarly a variety of plastics from ABS to PEEK can be plated, but it is worth checking first. 

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If I need a gloss/matt/textured finish, can this be done?

Textured finishes can be achieved either through the use of paint or through the application of a film that carries the pattern. A simple fine spark finish can be sometimes be created by lightly blasting the surface. This process is used to reproduce mould tool textures, typically in automotive applications.

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How can photo realistic rendering help my project?

Rendering software is an extremely powerful tool that is used to give realistic images of concepts. Created in 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) software, it can help bring ideas to life at any stage of the development process and help to make decisions prior to proceeding to functional prototypes and production.

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How can 3D labels be used successfully on my part?

These labels are tough, durable and can give that professional finish to your part. There are lots of reasons why 3D labels may be just what you need… 

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