If you have questions on which 3D Printing technology to use for your project or questions about 3D Printing in general, reach out to us with our 3D printing easy button we would be happy to talk with you.
What materials can you print in?
We specialize in 3D printing technologies that use engineering plastics mimicking common thermoplastics. There are dozens of different materials for each printing technology including ABS, Thermoplastic, Rubber-like, Metal, Nylon, and Glass Filled materials. Let us know what your application is and we will help you choose the best additive technology and material.
What is your lead time?
Our standard lead time is 2-3 Business Days but this can vary drastically depending on the size and shape of parts, the 3D printing technology, prototype material, and post processing required. We do offer 24 hour expedite service as well as weekend printing and finishing (additional cost will be added for these orders).
What kind of 3D CAD file do you need?
We prefer .STL and/or .STEP 3D models. Many times a STEP file will give us the best resolution. If you need help creating a 3D model our engineering department can provide CAD support for your project.
I have a part but no 3D CAD model, can you print a copy?
Yes, we need a 3D CAD model in order to print a part but we have the capability to 3D scan an existing part and create a model. Learn more about our engineering services here.
Learn more about what we need to quote your 3D Printing project:
What color options do you have?
Some additive technologies allow us to directly print in a wide gamut of colors (Polyjet). We also offer painting services if the technology required for your parts doesn’t directly print in color. Our most common natural colors are White and Translucent.
What is the tolerance on your machines?
Tolerances depend on the technology being used and the geometry of the part in relation to how the part is oriented on the build platform. Our most common tolerance across all our technologies is ±.010″ + with an additional tolerance of +/- 0.002” per inch for parts over 6″ in length. Smaller parts tend to have a tighter tolerance of ±.005″.
Yes, there are a few options for printing in rubber-like materials. Elastomer materials for 3D printing can range in durometer, we can print in 27 Shore A to 75 Shore A. Depending on part size and geometry we can also blend elastomer materials to achieve different levels of durometer.
This is a handy chart that give well know references and there equivalent hardness on the Shore scale.
Can you 3D print metal parts?
Yes, we have access to DMP (Direct Metal Printing) machines that can print in a variety of metal alloys including steel and aluminum. We also use Quickcast SLA patterns and investment casting processes to create metal parts.
If you need your part to be in a very specific grade of steel, aluminum, titanium, ect. please visit our investment casting page.
What size parts can you make?
We can build parts as small as 0.25″ x 0.25″ x 0.25″ or as big as 20″ x 20″ x 20″ in a single piece. Depending on part geometry we can build even smaller parts and we can assembly very large parts by splitting and UV welding pieces together. To date the largest part we have built was well over 6′ long and consisted of multiple SLA parts glued together and then sanded to appear as a single part.
Can you make our parts smooth?
Most printing machines build parts in short layers creating visible “layer lines”. Through post processing we are able to sand/blast layers line away if needed. Depending on the parts application we can achieve a surface finish that is appropriate.
What does 3d printing cost and is it expensive?
The pricing is based on a series of factors, including: volume of the object, amount of raw material used, added human work (mostly for our finishes) and multiple other factors.
Materials: Our SLA materials are the most expensive, FDM and MJF materials are our cheapest. Polyjet parts can range in price based on part size and materiel type.
Part thickness / overall size: If you have a part that is thick, request that F3DP hollows out your part to help lower the cost due to material consumption to make the part. Also, parts that are tall in the Z axis and have to be built standing up can drive significant cost due to extended run time on the printers, the shorter the part, the cheaper it is to build. F3DP always tries to orient your part for build quality first and cost second. Consult your sales engineer if you have a lager part and want it oriented for the cheapest cost.
Order qty: Take advantage of volume discounts for your 3D prints. At F3DP, we quote all your parts placed onto as few build platforms as possible and pass the savings along to you. The more parts you order the cheaper they tend to get up to the point where we fill a single build platform for the machine.
Part finish: Some customers do not need a high end finish for there 3D Printed parts due to them being used for engineering testing and design evaluation, others need fully sanded, painted, or dyed parts that can be used for trade shows, marketing photos, or investor meetings. The higher the part finish quality, the higher the cost (due to skilled labor costs)
Are 3D Printed parts strong?
SLA,Polyjet, CLIP: These are 3D Printing technologies with low mid level strength, heat resistance, and chemical resistance, they are know for there flexibility and usefulness in snap fit applications*
FDM: Know for its upper mid level strength in the x and y axis’s, tend to be weaker in the Z axis*
SLS, MJF: These are 3D Printing technologies that are know for being able to achieve very strong isotropic strengths (strong in X,Y, & Z) due to there fully sintered / bonded layer structure, extremely heat and chemical resistant due to being Nylon*
*The overall design of a part can also greatly effect its strength when 3D Printed
Can you Print a Clear Part?
Absolutely, we print all kinds of clear parts like lenses, fluid flow test parts, ect. For more information on this please visit our Clear 3D Printed Parts page.
Where is Forerunner 3D Printing located?
RIGHT HERE! We do ask that you call ahead (231-722-1144) to set up a meeting if you want to stop by, we do offer tours to potential customers. Sorry, we are not open to the general public and can’t give you a tour if you are not looking to work with us on a commercial project.