Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the questions we frequently get asked in the day to day running of the 3D print bureau. If your question is not answered here please contact us by email or phone and we will be glad to help further.

What file formats do you accept?

The answer to this depends on how much file preparation you want to do yourself. Many customers send files directly as modelled in SketchUp, Rhino or DWG format. The actual file formats we print from are STL for single colour models and ZPR, VRML, PLY and 3DS for colour models, or for power users running ZPrint and Magics we can receive files in mgx, magics and ZBD formats.

Below is a list of file formats that we can work with. If your file format is not on the list please email or call and we will find a way to work with it.

  • STL
  • VRML
  • PLY
  • 3DS
  • ZPR
  • OBJ
  • SKP (SketchUp)
  • 3DM (Rhino)
  • DWG (AuotCAD 2010 and earlier)
  • DGN (v7 and v8)
  • FBX
  • – For Revit files export to DWG or FBX
  • – For 3D Studio max export to OBJ

What material do you 3D print in?

The material is plaster based and is usually strengthened with cyanoacrylate after printing. The final models have a texture that is sometimes called a sandstone finish.

Our models are ideal for concept modelling for visual communication purposes. If you require a different material for making a working prototype, etc, please let us know and we will do our best to point you in the right direction.

What printer do you have?

We have two ZPrinter 650s and a ProJet 660. Both models are essentially the same thing and print full colour models, quickly and at affordable prices.

How many colours can you print?

The ZPrinter 650 prints in 4 channel CMYK and can print 390,000 colours. However, 3D printing in colour is not as highly evolved as 2D colour printing so for example. Customers are advised to specify RGB values and if necessary and if time allows we can print a small colour palette to confirm colours.

Can the parts be painted?

The surface texture of the 3D printed parts is sometimes described as a sandstone finish which as you can imagine is not too easy to paint. While it is possible to sand down one of our parts to a smooth finish for painting, it may be that paying more for a part made on a different 3D print technology that lends itself to finishing may prove a better option.

Are the models waterproof?

Our standard parts are not waterproof and moisture may discolour the parts. We specialise in making concept models for visual communication purposes.

How long does it take?

Most models can be printed overnight, however data preparation can often have an impact on the time it takes to produce a model. The best way to determine the amount of time needed is for us to look at the data you have and assess its printability.

What does it cost?

Generally cost is based on the amount of material used in the 3D print process. Depending on size and geometry, different parts use different proportions of material and are charged accordingly. Time and complexity of the task may have an impact on the price we quote. We usually need to see the file in order to give you a price for 3D printing it.

Please email the file or if it is very large (20MB+) send a link to download the file to and we will either provide a quote and/or an estimate as required.