Frequently Asked Questions

What is 3D CAD?

3-dimensional computer-aided design is the technology used for designing products, processes, and technical documentation. It replaces manual drafting with an automated and computerized process. The end result is called a 3D model.

What is 3D printing?

It is the process of creating three-dimensional physical objects that are derived from digital CAD files. It is considered to be a layering process because the objects are built by adding a layer on top of another until completion. The term has also been assigned to fused filament type printers.

What is rapid prototyping?

It is the original term used for 3D Printing. It encompasses multiple additive and subtractive technologies and processes. It differs from traditional manual prototyping whereby machines are creating the prototypes as opposed to humans.

What is additive manufacturing?

It is the process of creating a solid object, from raw materials, by selectively adding one layer on top of another until completion.

What is subtractive manufacturing?

It is the process of creating an object from a block or sheet of material and selectively removing material until completion. It is primarily accomplished with CNC machining but it can also be accomplished with Electrical Discharge Machining or EDM. The process ultimately ends up with a solid three-dimensional model.

What is CNC machining?

Short for “computer numerical control,” CNC is a three-dimensional manufacturing process in which pre-programed digital files guide the path of a factory tool to selectively remove material from a block, rod, or sheet of material. The factory tools can include milling machines, lathes, routers or grinders. It is complimentary to 3D Printing and it is considered to be more accurate with a wider range of materials are available.

What is Stereolithography?

It is the first 3D printing technology that was introduced in the 1980’s. The name “Stereolithography” is a marriage of “Stereo” for 3 dimensional and “Lithography” for printing. The technology uses a UV laser to selectively cure a liquid resin or photopolymer one layer at a time. Over the years, it has become to be known as SLA.

What is SLS?

It is an additive manufacturing technique that uses an infra-red (CO2) laser as the power source to sinter powdered materials binding them together to create a solid structure. The laser is guided over the powder by a digital CAD file.

What is FDM?

It is a trade mark acronym for Fused Deposition Modeling. It uses a continuous filament of thermoplastic material that is fed from a large spool through a heated extruder head and it is deposited one layer at a time. The print head is moved under computer control to define the printed shape.

What is Fused Filament Fabrication?

It is the term used to describe the same process as FDM expect that it skirts the legal issues of the FDM trademark. It’s acronym is FFF and it is generally assigned for hobbyist-grade 3D Printing. In essence, a filament of plastic is fed thru a heated extrusion head that melts the plastic and deposits it one layer at a time until completion.

What is DMLS?

Selective laser melting (SLM), also known as direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) or laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), is a rapid prototyping, 3D printing, or additive manufacturing (AM) technique designed to use a high power laser to melt and fuse metallic powders together. The SLM process has the ability to fully melt the metal material into a solid three-dimensional part.

What are urethane castings?

It is the process of creating copies of thermoset plastic parts. Traditionally, it starts with a CAD file for generating a 3D printed, or machined, master pattern. The pattern instead, is used for creating a silicone mold. The mold is ultimately used to make copies of the master pattern by injecting liquid plastic into the mold. Once the liquid plastic is cured, the part is extracted from the mold and the process is repeated. This process compares to injection molding in that it uses a silicone mold instead of a metal mold. It is also faster and the costs are much lower. There is, however, a limited number of times that the mold can be used before it fails.

What is silicone molding?

It is the quick technique of creating a silicone or “rubber mold” for generating urethane or silicone castings.

What is rubber molding?

It is the original term used for silicone molding. A silicone mold is used to make copies of a part using liquid thermoset plastic.

What is RTV?

It stands for “Room Temperature Vulcanizing,”. and it’s one of the original terms used to describe silicon molding or rubber molding.

What file type do I need for 3D printing?

3D printing requires a .STL file. However, we accept and prefer .STP files. We also accept .IGS and most native CAD files.

What is QuickCast?

QuickCast is a build style that enables SLA machines to build hollow parts known as patterns. These hollow parts are used in Investment casting in lieu of wax patterns. It allows for the quick creation of ceramic molds that, in turn, are used for creating metal castings. QuickCast allows foundries to either postpone wax injection tooling or bypass it all together. QuickCast patterns also allow manufacturers to design components with complexities that cannot be made with traditional manufacturing methods.

What is a Shore scale?

The Shore scales describe how rigid or pliable plastic material are. There are two main scales: Shore A and Shore D. Shore A describes elastomers or rubbery materials. The D scale describes rigid materials. Both scales start with low numbers and increase to higher numbers. The lower the number, the more rubbery or pliable the material. The higher the number, the more rigid the plastic material. Example: a 15 Shore A material is very rubbery. Conversely, an 85 Shore D material is very rigid and leans towards brittleness.

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Need Assistance?

Contact us at: 805.485.7234 or sales@rapid-products.com

2240 Celsius Avenue, Unit D
Oxnard, CA 93030