3D Printing allows for the creation of physical objects from 3D computer models.
Whether you are looking to gain experience in the world of additive manufacturing using one of our consumer grade 3D printers or you have a project you would like to have 3D printed on a commercial grade 3d printer, the staff at GroundWorks is here to help.
3D Printing is a name associated with a form of manufacturing called additive manufacturing. Unlike traditional manufacturing methods, 3D printers don’t cut away, bend, or deform a raw stock of material into the desired shape. Instead they build up objects by selectively applying material in layers. This is done without the need for jigs, fixtures, dies, or molds. The additive process of 3D printing allows for the “free” fabrication of complex geometry.
The GroundWorks Fabrication Studio offers a variety of 3D printing options grouped into two categories:
Guided 3D Printers
Whether you are just getting started or have prior experience with 3D printing we have resources available to you. Our “Guided 3D Printing” service is a perfect match for those who are just getting started. An on staff consultant will help you through the process of 3D printing and even send the job to a 3D printer provided a machine is available.
Production 3D Printers
Our production 3D printing option addresses the needs of those who lack the time to operate a 3D printer or require parts that exceed the capability of the Guided 3D Printing service. Our collection of commercial grade 3D printers are capable of producing strong ABS plastic parts, translucent parts, flexible parts, or high resolution bio-compatible acrylic parts. We will inspect, quote, queue, and 3D print your parts for you!
Here are some important questions to consider while choosing which service model and 3D printer best fits your needs:
- What is the intended end use?
- How strong does it need to be?
- Do you need to use a specific material?
- How big is the part?
- What is the level of required feature detail?
- What is your budget?
There are many ways to create a digital 3D model based on what your needs are. Similarly we have a variety of printers to create the ideal part based on your priorities.
Guided 3D Printing – PrintrBot Play
For those who are just getting started with 3d printing, we are happy to introduce a new 3d printing service we call “Guided 3D Printing”. You are in charge of setting up your build! Simply add your part to Cura, select the print quality, rotate and scale the part, and save your gcode (PrintrBot instructions). If a PrintrBot is available, a consultant will send it to 3d print! To get started see the links below for hours and please remember that Guided 3D Printing is an education tool with limited resources. We make no guarantee that your part will 3d print as expected, nor do we queue 3d print jobs when utilizing the Guided 3D Printing service.
Production 3D Printing – Form 2
The Form 2 is a high resolution SLA 3d printer. It uses a photosensitive resin and a laser to fabricate parts. The Form 2 is best suited for producing objects that require high feature detail and smooth surfaces such as sculptures. It is not ideal for parts that require extremely tight tolerances, moving mechanisms, or parts with walls thinner than 0.5 mm or greater than 5mm thick. Typical layer resolution is between 25 and 100 micron with feature detail down to 0.3 mm. The Form 2 is capable of producing parts using several different UV sensitive resins such as flexible, clear, black and many others; but only one material at a time. The Form 2 does not have a dedicated material to create support structures. Instead it generates removable supports from the same material as the model. After 3d printing the supports are simply peeled away from the part. This will leave some scarring at the contact points so if perfection is your goal you will need to spend some time sanding the part for a flawless surface.
Production 3D Printing – Dimension Elite
The 3D Lab has two Dimension Elite 3D Printers that fabricate parts in ABS plastic. The material is ideal for parts such as fixtures, cases, and other bulky parts that require some strength and impact resistance. The Dimension Elite is not ideal for parts that require a high level of detail, tight tolerances, or smooth surfaces as the layer resolution is rather low at 254 or 178 microns with a low 0.5 mm feature detail. The Dimension Elite uses a dedicated material for support structure that dissolves away in sodium hydroxide allowing for complex geometries such as overhangs, parts inside of other parts, and even moving mechanisms!
Production 3D Printing – ProJet 3500 HD Max
The ProJet is a very high resolution multi jet 3d printer capable of producing USP Class VI bio-compatible rated parts from it’s ‘M3 Crystal’ resin. The ProJet offers two layer resolutions, 32 or 16 micron, with feature detail down to 200 micron. It is ideal for parts that are to be worn against the skin, surgical cut guides, tight tolerances, high feature detail, and thin walls. The ProJet is not suitable for large parts or 3d printing on a budget as one can expect to pay 4x over other processes.
Production 3D Printing – Stratasys J750
The J750 is a high resolution 3d printer capable of digitally blending up to 6 materials. With its microscopic layer resolution and accuracy down to 20-85 microns for features below 50 mm; up to 200 microns for full model size it can produce smooth surfaces, thin walls and complex geometries in a wide range of materials to include flexible, heat resistant, tough, transparent, or opaque parts with up to 360,000 colors. Use of this 3D printer is made possible by the College of Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Professor Filipov’s Deployable and Reconfigurable Lab.
There are several materials that our printers can print in. So if you’re looking for a specific material for your part, we can help you figure out which machine you should use.
PrintrBot 3D printers at the Fabrication Studio exclusively use PLA plastic. PLA is a biodegradable plastic that is made from renewable resources like cornstarch or sugarcane. When compared to ABS, PLA is a bit less flexible but uses less energy to form, is less likely to warp, and is safe to use. With it’s low cost and environmental qualities, PLA plastic is a good material to start with.
ABS plastic is recommended for a design that is a final product or needs the strength to withstand testing. It has a higher melting point then PLA and has a higher yield strength. The Dimension Elites are the only 3D printers at the UM3D Lab the fabricate parts in ABS plastic. The material is available in many different colors including blue, maize, orange, red, ivory, white, and black.
Form 2 Resin
Form 2 resins come in a variety of colors and formulations. We recommend the Form 2 for translucent parts, flexible parts, or parts that require smooth surfaces and high feature detail. Support structure will leave surface marring but can be sanded down. The material is available in many different colors including black, white, grey, and clear.
M3 Crystal is a bio-compatible, acrylic-based resin that allows parts made with this material to be used in numerous medical devices. Unlike the FDM process, the ProJet chemically bonds the material at each cross sectional layer creating parts with greater strength uniformity. In general, the material behaves as if it was cast and much less likely to break in the z-axis.
It is important to note that parts 3D printed on a ProJet are cost considerably more than PLA or ABS parts due to higher material cost, fully dense infill, and high use of support structure.
- 3Doodler – Tips & Tricks
- 3Doodler Introduction
- 1. About the Cube
- 2. Preparing Files for Printing
- 3. Loading Files into Cube
- 4. Loading Cartridge
- 4.1 Leveling Printer
- 5. Printing Setup
- 6. Printing
- 8. Unloading Cartridge
- 1. About the Cube 3
- 2. Generating a File
- 3. Loading Your File
- 4. Loading Material
- 5. Leveling the Printer
- 6. Print Setup
- 7. Printing
- 8. Unloading Material
- 1. Magics – Introduction
- 2. Magics – Part Inspection & Repair
- 3. Magics – Refining & Smoothing Models
- 4. Magics – Hollow Operation
- 5. Magics – Inspecting & Repairing
- 6. Magics – Fix, Rescale, Refine & Hollow
- 7. Magics – Overlaps & Triangle Reduction
- 8. Magics – Hollowing a Mesh
- 1. 3DS Max – Primitives, Modifiers, Booleans & Extrusion
- 2. 3DS Max – Shapes, Sweeps & Lofting
- 3. 3DS Max – EditPoly & Graphite Modeling Tools
- 4. 3DS Max – Cartoon House (Use Case)
- 5. 3DS Max – Keyframe Animation & Time Configuration
- 6. 3DS Max – Curve Editor, Physics, Constraints & Controllers
- 1. 3DS Max: Real-Time Environments – Scene Setup
- 2. 3DS Max: Real-Time Environments – Configuring Daylight
- 3. 3DS Max: Real-Time Environments – Preparing UVs
- 4. 3DS Max: Real-Time Environments – Render to Texture
- 5. 3DS Max: Real-Time Environments – Exporting to VRML
- 6. 3DS Max: Real-Time Environments – Compositing Maps
- 7. 3DS Max: Real-Time Environments – GI Scene Setup
- 8. 3DS Max: Real-Time Environments – GI Daylight & Final Gather
- 9. 3DS Max: Real-Time Environments – GI Setup & Pseudo Colors
- 10. 3DS Max: Real-Time Environments – GI UV Preparation & Baking
- 1. Real-Time Characters – Blocking Out Forms
- 2. Real-Time Characters – High Poly Sculpting
- 3. Real-Time Characters – Retopologizing
- 4. Real-Time Characters – UV Mapping
- 5. Real-Time Characters – Digital Painting Part 1
- 6. Real-Time Characters – Digital Painting Part 2
- 7. Real-Time Characters – Digital Painting Part 3
- 8. Real-Time Characters – Digital Painting Part 4
- 9. Real-Time Characters – Rigging & Skinning for Animation
- 10. Real-Time Characters – Rigging & Skinning Part 2
- 11. Real-Time Characters – Presentation