3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing

3D printing is also referred to as additive manufacturing, it is the building of an item from nothing, layer by layer as compared to traditional style manufacturing which generally involves the removal of material to create an item.

Different forms of 3D printing include FDM, SLA, SLS and Polyjet:

We can help, advise and arrange all forms of 3D printing using our machinery and utilising our network.

In-house we offer:

FDM Fused Deposition Modelling

An item is created using a thermoplastic and a soluble support material. Material is extruded and built up layer by layer from the bottom up. FDM parts in ABS Plus may have threads and can be sanded, drilled, tapped, glued, painted and even chrome plated. Items built in ABS Plus are slightly flexible.


The file format for Fused Deposition Modelling is *.stl. Remember to adjust the resolution to fine for the best results. Save each item as a separate file.


ABS Plus is available in natural (ivory), black, white, red, blue, olive, dark grey and yellow. Natural and black are readily available. Other colours may take up to 2 weeks to become available.

Build Orientation

The orientation of the part in relation to the build plate will affect the strength of the part and the stepping on curves. Parts will automatically be orientated to create the cheapest build with the least support material. A 3D L shaped letter will be stronger if built lying on the plate instead of standing. A saucer shaped item will have less stepping if built standing as compared to flat on the table.

Build Methods

Items can be built with different density interior

Solid – a tight cross hatching

Sparse High Density – a fine cross hatching of 0.5mm squares

Sparse Low Density – an open cross hatching of 4mm squares.

The software automatically shells a solid area with a 2mm wall thickness and fills the remainder with the designated density.

Build Envelope Size

The build envelope is 250mm in X, 250mm in Y and 300mm in Z. Larger items may be built in sections and glued together.

Build Resolution

Items may be built in layers of either 0.254mm or 0.33mm


The following information is to provide general information and it must be remembered design and build orientation can affect the values given

Mechanical Properties Metric
Tensile Strength 36 MPa
Tensile Modulus 2265 MPa
Tensile Elongation 4%
Flexural Strength 52MPa
Flexural Modulus 2198 MPa
IZOD Impact, notched 96J/m
Specific Gravity 1.04
Thermal Properties Metric
Heat Deflection Temperature @ 66 psi 96° C
Heat Deflection Temperature @ 264 psi 82° C
Coefficient of Thermal Expansion - – – – -
Melt Point Not Applicable2
Other Value
Specific Gravity 1.04

Note: The information presented is typical values intended for reference and comparison purposes only. They should not be used for design specifications or quality control purposes. End-use material performance can be impacted (+/-) by, but not limited to part design, end-use conditions, test conditions, etc. Actual values will vary with build conditions. 1 Build orientation is on side edge. 2 Due to amorphous nature, material does not display a melting point.

Some other 3D Printing methods we can help, advise and arrange are:

SLA Stereo lithography Apparatus

An item is created using a UV laser and a vat of UV curable photopolymer resin. Items are built layer by layer as the resin is cured. Items are then post cured. SLA items are generally not suitable for end use items due to being UV sensitive. SLA prototyping can offer a very fine finish.

The best file formats for SLA are *.iges, *.igs, *.step, *.stp or *.x_t.

SLS Selective Laser Sintering

An item is created using a high power laser and a vat of powder. Items are built layer by layer as the powder is melted. Glass filled nylon items are available when using SLS.

The best file formats for SLS are *.iges,*.igs, *.step, *.stp or *.x_t.


An item is created using ink jet technology. A range of UV sensitive materials are available and set with UV lights. Materials with a range of Shore D Hardness and flexibility may be used.

The best file formats for Polyjet are *.iges,*.igs, *.step, *.stp or *.x_t.