There is a high demand for customised manufacturing and therefore, many businesses are turning to 3D printing services as a result. This can improve the efficiency of your projects but you have to be careful when selecting the right 3D printing service.
When it comes to 3D printing and additive manufacturing, there is a range of materials available. The materials you select will depend on the project requirements. You will select materials according to their strength, resistance to heat and flexibility. You have to ask the printing service about the materials they can work with such as resins, metals, plastics, wood etc. Ask about the 3D printing technology they use as different types will have their pros and cons. Think about the technology that will best serve the requirements of your project. Some common 3D printing technologies you will come across will be selective laser sintering and fused deposition modelling. You need to discuss with the 3D printing service about the technology best suited for your project when it comes to compatibility with materials, speed and precision of work.
Ask about the maximum build volume that can be accommodated by the 3D printing service.
You have to consider the dimensions of your project. Look for a 3D printing service where you will not need to alter the design or split it so that it can fit within the limitations. Many complications can be avoided if you ask this at the beginning of the selection process. This will allow for a seamless project. You may be under certain time constraints so you have to ask about the turnaround time for developing the product and manufacturing it. There will be time needed for pre-processing, printing the project and post-processing. By having a good idea of the lead time, you will be able to plan the project carefully and ensure you are within deadlines. If there is an urgent project, you will need to ask whether the 3D printing service is able to expedite the work and whether there is a cost involved for this. Before you proceed with a 3D printing service, make sure to check samples of their previous work. In the initial stage where you are shortlisting companies, you can check out their portfolio online on their official website. There are also social media profiles where you can see this.
In the last stages of the selection process,
Make sure to check the samples physically so that you can get a better understanding of the finishes and the overall quality. This will give you an idea of their capabilities and what the outcome of your project will be were you to proceed with the company. Ask about the file formats they access as the common formats tend to be OBJ and STL. There are services that will provide design assistance or optimisation services for files so that the digital model can easily be converted to a high quality print. Ask about the post-processing services provided such as painting, sanding, coating and assembly of parts.