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Fabricate, Processes & Materials

3D Printing Getting Started Guide

This guide is designed to you help you become familiar with our online tools for 3D printing.

Short on time? Check out this quick 2 min video on how to upload your files for a quote:



Looking for more detail? Read on for a step-by-step guide to help you:

  1. Properly prepare your CAD files
  2. Export your files with the correct settings
  3. Upload your files to Fictiv
  4. Choose the right 3D printing material

Step 1: Prepare your CAD files

Before uploading your CAD files to Fictiv, it’s important to double check your files are properly prepared.

Here are 3 things to look out for when checking your files:

1. Only One Part Per File

Be sure to separate parts into individual files and delete any unnecessary shells.

2. Be Aware of Maximum Print Sizes

Here are the maximum print sizes for each material:

PLA 285 x 153 x 155mm 11.2 x 6.0 x 6.1in
ABS 406 x 355 x 406mm 16.0 x 14.0 x 16.0in
VeroWhite 290 x 190 x 140mm 11.4 x 7.4 x 5.5in
VeroClear 290 x 190 x 140mm 11.4 x 7.4 x 5.5in
Rubber-Like 342 x 342 x 200mm 13.4 x 13.4 x 7.8in
ABS-Like 342 x 342 x 200mm 13.4 x 13.4 x 7.8in
Nylon 340 x 340 x 600mm 13.3 x 13.3 x 23.6in
VisiClear 295 x 180 x 200mm 11.6 x 7.0 x 7.8in

If your part exceeds the following dimensions, use this quick tutorial to slice your part.

3. Check Your Units

It’s very easy to accidentally export your model in the wrong units; double check your units before submitting your files so you receive the right size part!


Step 2. Export your CAD files

BEST CHOICE: STEP FILE

STEP files carry all of the parametric data required so we can easily read the part size and geometry.

SECOND CHOICE: STL FILE

STL files work well, however there are no associated units and holes/gaps (watertightness) can cause issues when producing parts.

Here are the specific settings to choose when exporting STL files from Solidworks, Inventor, and Rhino:

Solidworks

  1. Click Options in ‘Save As’ menu
  2. Set Deviation to 0.0005in and the Angle to 5 degrees

Inventor

  1. Click Options in ‘Save As’ menu
  2. Set Detail Level to High

Rhino

  1. After saving filename, select Binary
  2. Mesh Options > Detail Controls
  3. Set Max Angle to 20 degrees
  4. Max Aspect Ratio to 6
  5. Minimum Edge Length to 0.0001

Step 3: Upload your files

Here’s a few things to look out for when uploading files to Fictiv.

KEEP FILES UNDER 10MB

We prefer files to be under 10MB; if your files are larger than this, refer back to step 2 to adjust your settings and lower your part resolution.

SELECT THE PROPER UNITS

When you submit files for a quote, you’ll select the part units; make sure they match the units you designed the model in.

 


Step 4: Choose the right material

Use this decision tree to help you choose the best material for your part:

3D printing material decision tree

If you choose Rubber-Like, make sure to select a durometer.

Here are some rubber comparisons for each shore choice:

Shore 27A Rubber Band
Shore 40A Pencil Eraser
Shore 50A Bike Inner-tube
Shore 60A Tire Thread
Shore 70A Shoe Heel
Shore 85A Rollerblade Wheels
Shore 95A Shopping Cart Wheels

 

Note that each part can only be printed in one color.

All materials, with the exception of ABS and PLA, print in their natural color:

ABS Contact us for color availability (Matte Finish)
PLA Contact us for color availability (Glossy Finish)
VeroWhite/VeroBlack Off-white/Black
VeroClear Clear (ask us about clarity options)
Nylon White
Rubber-Like Black
ABS-Like Off-white
VisiClear Translucent

Still have questions that weren’t covered in this guide? You can always reach out to our expert engineers on the Fictiv support team here.

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