Making Your 3D Printed Parts Faster
3D printing has been widely acknowledged as a fast alternative to traditional manufacturing processes for a range of applications. In order to harness the full potential of additive manufacturing, there are key steps you can take to further cut down lead times. When time is of the essence on a project, expedite your project turnaround by considering the following.
Engage with an Expert
As the leading 3D printing service provider, Stratasys Direct Manufacturing guarantees parts delivered on time, without sacrificing quality. Your project is handled from quote to delivery by experienced engineers that guarantee your deadlines are met. Our unmatched printer capacity ensures your parts are built immediately to your specified requirements. By utilizing our 3D printing services, you’re sure to save time, without sacrificing quality, on your next project.
Export CAD Files to STL
3D printers require STL files, data made up of triangles forming the surface of a 3D model. Often information can be lost in the transition from CAD to STL, so it’s important to prepare your files to ensure quality expectations and design intentions are maintained. Common parameters that affect faceting of STL files include chord height, deviation, angle tolerance and poly count. It’s imperative to prepare your files for the export with this in mind to ensure quality expectations and design intentions are maintained from CAD to final part production.
While native CAD can be converted to STL format by our project engineers, sometimes when that process is done outside of the native software, errors can arise such as missing features. Sending CAD in STL format minimizes the chance for issues. Small changes to file size and features help create pristine STL files and accelerate processing. These include optimizing triangulation, file resolution, tolerances, multiple shells, nested or tabbed parts and any text.
Pick the Right Technology
Your project’s application is usually the driving consideration behind technology choice, but requirements like delivery date and cost-effectiveness play into the decision as well. When turnaround time is crucial, some technologies and build methods are more ideal.
For example, PolyJet is a fast technology, building many parts in a matter of hours. The material-jetting technology is ideal for highly detailed, cosmetic prototypes. PolyJet can print multiple colors and textures saving you time in post-processing where you may have required painting or decals. The fast turnaround times lends itself to an ideal process for rapid prototyping.
Bigger parts suited for Stereolithography can be produced with ID-Light, a proprietary method at Stratasys Direct that builds strong parts with a near-hollow interior. This process takes half the time to build since less material is used. These parts are also significantly lighter than their solid counterparts while still maintaining a good level of strength.
For projects that need multiple small parts quickly, Multi Jet Fusion may be more suitable. These technologies build in a powder material chamber which lends to nesting of parts. This batch manufacturing process can create multiple smaller parts nearly 5 times faster than other similar methods.
Sometimes material choice can slow down production as mechanical requirements may be complex. Our Material Wizard is a helpful tool for filtering through key characteristics swiftly.
If you require a highly cosmetic part, consider the finishing that may be required to achieve final looks. For example, if the part needs a smooth surface texture or assembly the operations necessary will extend your turn-around time. Some quick-turn prototypes don’t need any cosmetics, and if manufactured with processes like PolyJet and Stereolithography, may look and feel sufficient right off the machine.
Sometimes desired cosmetics can be achieved more quickly by choosing an alternative than the obvious. For example, if you need a part to be black, you could have the part dyed instead of painted to save on time and money.
These simple steps will help streamline the manufacturing process, from quote to delivery.
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