How long do prints take?
Print time depends on the desired layer height and the level of quality deemed appropriate by the printer or client. Layer height refers to the thickness of the horizontal slices used to build the 3D model in the printer. For example, all the parts of this kit printed at .3mm layer height takes around 17 hours.
What do your prints cost?
For custom prints I charge $3.50/hr of print time + materials at-cost.
How long do prints last compared to other forms of manufactured plastic?
Assuming it’s a non-functional part (such as a prop), technically 3D prints will last as long as any similar sized plastic part. The assemblies are as strong as the glue you use to construct them. However, 3D prints have reduced strength when forces are applied at certain angles and can be prone to accidental breaks, usually in cases where the horizontal layers have low cross-sectional areas and therefore have less binding between layers. Functional parts can be oriented and broken down into assemblies for greater strength at the cost of increasing design time. Typically, prints with a minimum wall thickness of 3mm will be strong enough to resist accidental damage. Another physical feature of printed plastic is the pyramiding effect produced by breaking up a 3D model into a stack of 2D slices.
How do I finish prints to reduce the pyramiding effect?
I have a few finishing options depending on your artistic background, which I can apply for an extra fee depending on the surface area of the model. My finishing options include brush on resin, brush on guesso, and spray on filler primer, all of which are sandable. I recommend brush on resin, because this material is what dreams are made from. I would recommend filler primer or guesso if you already have painting supplies that are ideal for these surfaces.
You’ll want to use a finer grain sandpaper and sand the piece for a longer period of time, as the plastic is much more difficult to sand than the finishes and using coarse grain will cause plastic ridges to peak past the finish material slightly. Spray can or airbrushed acrylic paint in layers and sanding between the layers is also an excellent strategy for smoothing prints. And less work for me, so that’s a win-win.
What do the finishes cost?
Mostly just labor cost, the material used is usually too miniscule to charge for. Finish application charges: Pistol or dagger sized objects = $10, melee weapons larger than daggers, long guns, and helmets = $20, and armor or massive prints = $30.
What kind of plastics can you print with?
My prefered material is PLA due to the size of my assemblies and it’s exceptional anti-warping properties. The downside of PLA is that it’s more brittle due to less flex and is more difficult to sand (compared to ABS plastic), both of which can be rectified by applying a resin coat. I also have ABS for smaller prints, and exotic materials such as PVA and nylon. Specialty filament available upon request.
Is the plastic toxic?
I can’t vouch for the chemical properties of PLA or ABS plastic, but the nature of printing leads to ridges that are prime real estate for bacteria if the pieces aren’t properly dried and sterilized after they get wet. There are FDA approved plastics we can discuss on a case-by-case basis, but for most situations creating a silicone mold of a properly finished/smoothed print then using food safe castable resin will yield the best results. Technically, for these reasons I avoid recommending 3D printers for food based applications.
How long will my project take to ship?
Depending on backlog and the size of the project, I can get a print in the mail in 1-7 business days. In cases of large models and assemblies I’ll need to set up a schedule with you for consistent updates.
What do you charge for custom design?
I charge $30/hr for custom models and 2D CAD based schematics or graphics. Formats include .stl, .obj, .dwg, .dxf, .pdf, .skp, and many others upon request. If you compensate me for the labor costs of your design, the rights transfer to you and any request for the digital rights is sent directly to you (I only retain the model as a portfolio entry). For jobs taking less than 10 hours, I don’t invoice until you approve of the final model or file via sketchfab or pdf.
What do I need to send you to get started?
That depends on what you need. If you need a print, I’ll need a .obj or .stl file. If your file is in a different format I might be able to convert it on a case-by-case basis, and I’ll let you know if the process is going to take too long (in some cases an object redesign takes less time than figuring out a specific conversion). Generally video game models don’t work well for printing as poly count is reduced and compensated for using textures in order to increase performance. For projects under $200 I don’t invoice until you approve of the close-up print pics.
If you have an idea, I can work with concept art, schematics, or even napkin sketches. After figuring out what kind of prototype you’re looking for, I shoot you an estimate on how many hours it’ll take to design the file. For projects taking less than four hours to model I don’t invoice until you approve of your final design via sketch fab. Once you compensate me for the hourly labor on a design or file, the rights of it are yours and yours alone.
My goal is to enable people with abstract ideas as frequently as possible, so it’ll be up to you how you want to protect or open your concept/idea/prototype to the rest of the world. Honestly I just like the pretty shapes and colors in the lighty box.
What's your game vagrant...?
My goal is to enable people with abstract ideas as frequently as possible.*
How do I impress my girlfriend with 3D printing?Meh?
What would you say… ya do here?
Look… I already told you… I create designs and prototypes for the god damn clients so the engineers don’t have to. I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can’t you understand that!? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!?
*(Full disclosure: I really like the pretty shapes and colors in the lighty box.)