In FabLab Enschede we have more than thirty 3D printers. A large part of these are the most commonly known ‘FDM’ printers, but we also have the more specialized SLS and SLA printers.
With a 3D printer, you can go from a digital 3D model to a real-life product in just a few hours. 3D prints have very few limitations appearance-wise, which makes it a perfect technique for prototyping and communicating your ideas to the outside world. In just a few hours, your ideas are brought into the real world. Because of our wide variety of printers and materials, we can achieve results with various levels of detail, strength, and finishes in different budget ranges.
The FDM printers are easy to operate yourself. At home, you can prepare your design in your preferred 3D software, such as Solidworks, Fusion360, or TinkerCAD, or just download one of the many free available 3D models from the websites listed below. When you come to Fablab you can prepare your design in the user-friendly software on one of our desktop computers. Using our tutorials and Fablab-wiki we are confident you will be able to do this without any assistance, but of course; don’t hesitate to ask if you need some assurance, input, or help from our student assistants.
It does not matter which technique is used, with 3d printing, the product is always built up from layers. But there are different ways and different materials it can be built with. Down below are a couple 3d printing types shown, these will inform u about what their differences are and it will teach u about which type u should choose depending on the usage of the object.
- FDM (aka FFF), a string of plastic is extruded/pushed through a hot nozzle while the nozzle is being moved over the build plate. By doing so the first and bottom layer of the design is created. When the first layer is done printing, the bed will lower (or the nozzle will rise) to make room for the second layer.
- SLA (stereolithography), a photosensitive liquid resin is cured locally with high-energy light (often UV).
- SLS (aka DMSL), a powder is sintered using a laser beam. This technique offers high precision and a sleek finish. Because the product is surrounded with powder, no support material is needed, which makes this a perfect printer for ‘print in place’. The downside of the printer is the high cost, mandatory guidance and high labor intensity.