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Printer Specifications

 

Standard 3D Printers

Advanced 3D Printers

 

Zortrax M200

Stratsys Dimension Elite

Formlabs Form 2

Technology / Material(s)

FDM : fused deposition modeling

ABS Filament (black / white / first available)

FDM

FDM : fused deposition modeling

ABS Filament + dissolvable support (various colors)

FDM

SLA : stereolithography

Various Resins (clear, castable, flexible)

SLA

Price

free

$2.50 per in3

Varies by material

($.25 - $.40/ml)

Build Volume

7.87 x 7.87 x 7.08 in

zortrax build volume

8 x 8 x 12 in

strat build volume2

5.7 × 5.7 × 6.9 in

form2 build volume

Max Resolution

90 microns [0.0035 in]

177.8 microns [.007 in]

25 microns [.001 in]

Support Material

breakaway ABS

breakaway resin

dissolvable filament

How to Request a print

prepare file in Z-Suite software, bring .zcode file to Digital Output Support lab assistant

submit .stl file(s) through the online form for estimate

submit .stl file(s) through the online form for estimate

The Basics

At Art + Design, we have several 3D printing options. Understanding the basics will help you to make an informed decision about what printing process is right for your project.

3D printers are considered to be “rapid prototyping devices” – but that doesn’t always mean that it is a quick process. Small models can often take hours or even days to print. Additionally, after it is printed, it may need to be cleaned in a chemical bath before it is ready for pick up. Also, keep in mind that the output of a 3D printer is a prototype - it is not usually considered to be a final product. Plan your project to allow for enough time to make multiple versions, and to allow for enough time to finish it by sanding and/or painting. All 3D prints require some level of finishing, and depending on what printer you use, the amount of finishing necessary may vary.

Types of Printers

Some of our printers use a process call Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) or Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). With FFF printing, plastic filament is melted and squeezed through a nozzle, laying down one layer of extruded plastic at a time. The model is built by printing many thin layers of plastic. The level of detail or smoothness of the print is determined by the height of each layer of plastic.

To avoid wasting plastic, and reduce print time, the interior space of a FFF print can be filled with a looser mesh of plastic. This interior structure of the model is called “infill”. Infill is usually described in percentages – a higher percentage of infill is a denser mesh. A denser mesh results in a stronger model, so, depending on how your model will be used, it may require a higher density of infill. If your model doesn’t need to support weight, handle tension, it will significantly reduce print time to use a lower percentage infill in printing.

Some of our printers use a process called Stereolithography (SLA). With SLA printing, a printing plate is submerged in a vat of resin that can be cured, or made solid, by being exposed to ultraviolet light. A laser traces the path to be cured, and successive layers are built by raising the printing plate slightly, and curing another layer of resin to the previous layer. In SLA printing, the level of detail or smoothness is determined by the size of the point of the laser, creating prints with finer detail than is typically possible with FFF printing. Unlike FFF printing, SLA prints typically have a solid infill to avoid liquid resin from being trapped inside the model.

Support Material

To build areas of a print that overhang, the printer builds scaffolding on which it builds the overhanging area. This scaffolding is called “support”. Some printers use the same plastic material that is used for the model for support that can be broken off and sanded away, others use a second type of material that can be dissolved in a chemical bath. Almost all prints require the use of some amount of support.

Sometimes, a model can be printed in a way that minimizes the need for support, or places the support in areas that are easier to cut or break away, and sand cleanly. However, some models need to be printed at a particular angle for the printer to successfully build the model, and the support cannot be minimized. This is particularly true for SLA printing, where the model must be printed at an angle for the layers to be successfully cured to the print bed.

Success and Failure

There are many factors that determine the success of a print. All printers have limitations, and printing to the extent of the limitations often results in failure. For example, prints that come close to the maximum build volume of the printer, or that have extremely thin walls are prone to failure. Printers tend to create minor vibrations and movements that may affect the success of particularly delicate models.

Most 3D printing technology produces a model that is close to the specified size in the software, but some shrinkage should be expected. Because of this variance, it can often be difficult to 3D print parts that fit together accurately.

Submitting a File to be 3D Printed

Standard 3D Printing - Zortrax Printers

  1. Prepare your file for printing in Z-Suite (available on all lab computers). For info on preparing the file, consult the Zortrax Quickstart Guide.
  2. Submit your Zortrax 3D print files to the queue by bringing your formatted .zcode file on a USB memory stick to the Digital Output Lab Assistant.
  3. The lab assistant will provide you with a receipt to pick up your finished print, and you will receive an email when your print starts.

Advanced 3D Printing - Stratasys + Form 2

  1. Request an estimate at go.illinois.edu/art3DprintEstimate.
  2. Immediate after you submit this request, you will receive an automated email reply.
  3. A print estimate with the estimated cost and projected start time for your print should be expected within 1-2 business days.
  4. After you receive this estimate, you must confirm the estimate to reserve your place in the queue within 24 hours. If you confirm the estimate after 24 hours, the cost will likely remain accurate, but the projected start time may change. You will be notified of the revised start time, but it will be considered automatically confirmed, unless you respond with a cancellation prior to the start time of the print.