Top 3 considerations before prototyping

We cover the top 3 considerations you should take before Rapid Prototyping

With broadened design possibilities, the ability to print in 1000’s of colours and speedy production, 3D printing has become a common go-to for peoples rapid prototyping needs. It’s not always a simple decision when finding a solution for your RP needs, and below we have outlined a few considerations you should take in to account before getting started!

Your End Product

At the very forefront of your decision, should be wholly based on what your products application will be. For example, some of our customers need prototypes that will have water running through them so they can perform a fluid analysis therefore a clear PolyJet material would be best suited to this. Other customers applications will need to take some external force, so a strong FDM material such as Nylon 12 would be suitable for this.

Alternatively, if you just need your material to simply function exactly as the end-product will; this is where different technologies that offer tough materials and ideal tolerances come in to play.

3D Printing Technology

At the bureau we offer 5 different technologies, including PolyJet & FDM. Some of our processes such as MJP (Multi-jet printing) are more suited to those prototypes that need exceptional sharp edges and fine features definition, where as our FDM (fused deposition modelling) range of printers boast a range of true engineering grade materials suited for high end aerospace & automotive RP applications.

Our PolyJet technology offers the ability to combine hard and flexible materials, as well as full colour and transparencies. We understand it can be quite confusing to people who don’t live and breathe the technology day in day out like our team do, so we are more than happy to chat through what material we think would best suit your application.

File Format & Designs

Here at the bureau, we don’t only accept STL file formats but also .OBJ, WRL, VRML & STP files.  See below some important factors to consider when creating your design as an STL file: When tessellating the surface of your design, the smaller you make the triangles, the better the approximation can be; meaning better quality prints and avoiding faceted surfaces.

With a higher resolution, the triangles are smaller and more numerous, but remember, the definition of the printed model is dictated by the dpi of the printer and not the resolution of the data, therefore a medium export resolution is usually fine.

The smaller the tessellation, the larger the file will be. 3D printers can struggle to process large data files. Therefore it is important to strike a balance between accuracy and file size when creating your design.

If you still need help with your design and file, our team are more than happy to assist you – just ask!