Today we launched our new in depth 3D printing auto quoting tool. No longer will you have to wait to get an estimation of how much your print will cost, just upload your STL and choose your settings for an instant price quote!
How it Works
Step 1: Drag in your .STL
Your first step is to upload your .STL file. 3D printing prefers all 3D models to be in .STL format. Most design programs can export in this format. If not, you can either find 3rd party software to convert or we can do so for a small fee. Just email your .OBJ .STEP or other 3D file to info@SD3D.com with the subject “3D File Conversion” and we can send it your way.
It is best to save your model in the orientation that you would like when printing, since that is the way it is initially oriented when uploaded. Since FDM requires support material for large overhang parts (scaffolding), some orientations will actually save material and provide a better surface quality.
If you do not have a design of your model yet, it will need to be done on the computer in order to be 3D printed. Sign up for a free design consultation in order to begin the process of turning your idea into reality.
Step 2: Confirm the dimensions of your part
Your model will initially upload in mm. If the model was designed in inches it will give you an inaccurate and under priced quote. You will need to check off what the design units are in order for a proper quote.
You can then scale your part with the bar represented below the dimensions.
Step 3: Choose your material
At SD3D we offer many different types of materials, each with their own pros and cons for different applications. The two most commonly used are PLA and ABS. PLA is a more brittle material with a low glass transition temperature, making it best for non mechanical prototypes. It is also the cheapest to print.
ABS is similar to Lego plastic and has a much higher glass transition temperature and a higher elongation to break than ABS while still maintaining a reasonable price tag.
For a full comparison of the 3D printing materials we offer, visit our Materials Page.
Step 4: Choose color and finishing
Colors can often be limited by the material selection. PLA, ABS, and PET+ all come in a wide variety of color selection but more exotic materials are limited to one or two choices.
Finishing also varies by material. ABS and ABS blends allow for acetone vapor finishing, which is the smoothest process we currently offer. Post processing generally adds 10% to your order cost.
Step 5: Choose your infill (Optional)
Infill refers to the amount of material that will fill in your part. Some parts can be printed hollow, or close to it, while others require more strength and may work best at 75% infill. The higher the infill, the more material and time required to print, meaning the price will adjust accordingly.
In order to adjust this, you will need to click into “Advanced Settings”. From there you will have a scroll bar that will allow you to choose how dense you would like your part to be.
Thin walled parts will not be effected as much as items with a lot of area to be filled. Thin walled parts are close to 100% infill due to the shells that are required.
You can ignore this part and we will quote you at our standard 25-30% infill, which works for the vast majority of applications.
Step 6: Choose your quantity
The final step you will want to do before confirmation will be to choose the quantity you need. The more parts you would like to order, the more the per unit cost will decrease. This is because there are .stl fees and bed setup fees. If you would just like one very small part, you may get quoted at $11. That same small part at 10 units may only jump to $20 due to the ability to batch your parts on a single printer.
7. Choose your quality and confirm your settings
You have now chosen all of the options available and will be presented with 4 different pricing tiers at different qualities. The fine quality is printed at a 100 micron layer height, standard 250 microns, and draft at 400 microns. Most parts are perfectly fine to be printed at standard quality.
The final option refers to our membership plan at 250 microns. If you plan on printing dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of your part, memberships are definitely the way to go. We can handle medium volume manufacturing so that you can not only prototype, but sell your part to the end consumer. Please visit our Membership Page for more information.
Once you choose your quality, you will be taken to a checkout page where you can either upload a new model and start this process again, or proceed with what you have. You will not be asked for payment information until someone at the SD3D team confirms everything.
8. Receive your 3D printed parts!
After we receive your quote, it will take roughly 1 business day to send you a link to purchase your parts. Once payment is received, we will begin printing your parts. Most jobs can be completed in under 5 business days, but some larger orders may take longer. Your turnaround time estimate will be given to you upon receiving the finalized quote. There will also be updates provided throughout the process.