As Product Designers we have been using 3D Printing (or additive manufacturing as it used to be called) for many years. The recent consumer interest has allowed the costs to come down substantially meaning that knowledge and access to these different technologies are within anyone's reach.

We work on many design projects that utilise 3D Printing, for example product prototypes, scale models, small production runs and manufacturing jigs to name just a few. Below are the 3D printing processes we commonly use and a selection of our favourite projects produced using them.

SLS

Pros:

  • Good mechanical properties, making SLA suitable for parts with intricate details.
  • No support required, so complex designs can be printed.
  • Ideal for small to medium batch production.

SLA

Pros:

  • Very high accuracy, making SLA suitable for parts with intricate details.
  • Very smooth surface finish, making SLA suitable for visual models.
  • Some material variations are available.

FDM

Pros:

  • Can print in multiple colours and materials.
  • Can endure heat, chemicals and mechanical stress.
  • Low cost.

Cons:

  • Lead times can be quite long.
  • Grainy and porous surface finish which may require post-processing.
  • Large flat surfaces and very small holes cannot be printed accurately.

Cons:

  • Brittle and not suitable for functional prototypes.
  • Sunlight will cause parts will degrade over time.
  • Post-processing is necessary to remove the visual marks left by supports.

Cons:

  • Low accuracy and resolution, making FDM not suitable for parts with intricate details.
  • Post-processing is necessary to remove the visible layer lines.
  • Due to the layering in FDM, parts are naturally weaker along the grain.

Calculate your 3D printing costs below. Please enter maximum width, length and height of your product(s):

SLS

Total excl. VAT
£
£
Total incl. VAT
£
£

Calculate your 3D printing costs below. Please enter maximum width, length and height of your product(s):

SLA

Total excl. VAT
£
£
Total incl. VAT
£
£

Calculate your 3D printing costs below. Please enter maximum width, length and height of your product(s):

FDM

Total excl. VAT
£
£
Total incl. VAT
£
£

POLYJET

Pros:

  • Similar to SLA, except no supports are required.
  • Very high accuracy, making Polyjet suitable for parts with intricate details
  • Very smooth surface finish, making SLA suitable for visual models
  • Can print with multiple materials at once

SILICONE MOULDING

Pros:

  • Smooth Surface Finish (after post-processing).
  • Mechanically tough material (nylon).

INJECTION MOULDING

Pros:

  • Smooth Surface Finish (after post-processing).
  • Mechanically tough material (nylon).

Cons:

  • Brittle and not suitable for functional prototypes
  • Sunlight will cause parts will degrade over time

Cons:

  • Can be too flexible to test i.e. levers.
  • Without post-processing rough texture.

Cons:

  • Can be too flexible to test i.e. levers
  • Without post-processing rough texture.

Calculate your 3D printing costs below. Please enter maximum width, length and height of your product(s):

POLYJET

Total excl. VAT
£
£
Total incl. VAT
£
£

Calculate your 3D printing costs below. Please enter maximum width, length and height of your product(s):

SILICONE MOULDING

Total excl. VAT
£
£
Total incl. VAT
£
£

Calculate your 3D printing costs below. Please enter maximum width, length and height of your product(s):

INJECTION MOULDING

Total excl. VAT
£
£
Total incl. VAT
£
£