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01745 535007
sales@techsoft.co.uk
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3D Printing

About 3D Printers
What is 3D printing?
3D printing is Additive Rapid Prototyping. There are a number of different technologies around, and many different materials including metals (and even concrete!) can be ‘printed’ commercially. Most 3D printers for schools use plastics, and the Fuse Deposition Modelling (FDM) process, which involves many thin layers of plastic building up the desired shape. 3D printing has been around for many years in professional design (and production) environments, but a new era of lower cost machines means that they are now available to schools - without breaking the bank.

How does it work?
Students start with a 3D solid model, created in software such as SOLIDWORKS Education Edition. The file is saved in ‘STL’ format and loaded into the post-processing software supplied with the 3D printer. The user chooses settings (eg., build quality, speed, model placement). The software then ‘slices’ the 3D model into a stack of multiple tool paths, and sends the print job to the machine. Appropriate filament is loaded and the printing process begins. The process is fascinating to watch, as molten plastic is extruded from the 3D printer tip as it moves around, creating the shape of each layer, one after another. When complete, the model is removed from the machine. It really is that simple!

Why Does My School Need One?
3D CAD is essential in modern D&T, and sooner or later, students will need to turn their creative ideas into real parts for projects. The low cost and setup time make the technology ideal to promote the iterative design process that the curriculum demands. It is important for students to learn that getting it wrong is not a mistake, rather it is a step towards getting it right.
3D Printing Overview
Which Machine Should I Choose?
There are a number of basic variables such as cost, material types and build envelope to take into consideration, and many of our machines have their own unique features and specifications - we have options to suit requirements at all levels. ‘Support’ is required for models with overhangs, and depending which model you choose this can either be removed with hand-tools, or a secondary soluble material can be printed and soaked away later on.

What else do I need?
If you don’t already have a 3D solid modelling package, SOLIDWORKS is the ideal partner for your 3D printer.

Is a 3D printer all I will need then?
A 3D printer is an important part of the range of key equipment necessary to successfully deliver today’s D&T curriculum, but other 3D rapid prototyping technologies should not be forgotten. Whilst the range of material options are increasing, at a school level 3D printing is limited to certain types of plastics. In situations where a specific material is required, Subtractive Rapid Prototyping may be required (see our range of 3D capable millers & routers).

The TechSoft Advantage
The market for 3D printers is (quite frankly) a mine-field, but our experience allows us to carefully select the models most appropriate for the classroom environment. TechSoft are proud of our reputation for excellent customer service, and person-to-person contact is an important feature of this. We will be your first point of contact for materials, consumables, and advice, and you will have unlimited access to technical support via phone or email.
Machine Comparison Charts
Machine Build Size Model Material Dual Head Support Removal Price £ More Info
Flashforge
Adventurer 3 150 x 150 x 150mm PLA No Manual 430.00 More Info
Creator 3 300 x 250 x 200mm PLA/ABS Yes Manual/Soluble 2,660.00 More Info
Silhouette
Silhouette Alta 124 (diameter) x 130mm PLA No Manual 450.00 More Info
Robox
RoboxDual 210 x 150 x 100mm PETG/PLA/ABS/Other Yes Manual/Soluble 1,240.00 More Info
RoboxPro 300 x 200 x 400mm PETG/PLA/ABS/Other Yes Manual/Soluble 4,105.00 More Info
MakerBot
Sketch 150 x 150 x 150mm PLA No Manual 2,220.00
(Pack of 2)
More Info
Replicator+ 295 x 195 x 165mm PLA No Manual 2,420.00 More Info
Method 190 x 190 x 196mm PLA/PETG/Other Yes Soluble 6,060.00 More Info
Method X 190 x 190 x 196mm PLA/PETG/ABS/Other Yes Soluble 7,870.00 More Info
Ultimaker
2+ Connect 223 x 220 x 205mm PLA/ABS/Other No Manual 2,845.00 More Info
S3 230 x 190 x 200mm PLA/ABS/Other Yes Manual/Soluble 4,780.00 More Info
Roland
ARM-10 130 x 70 x 70mm UV Resin No Manual 4,240.00 More Info


Machine Warranty Enclosed Connection Software
Provided
Min Layer
Resolution
Price £ Buy
Flashforge
Adventurer 3 1 Year Return to Base Yes USB Stick/Ethernet/WiFi Flashprint 0.1mm 430.00 More Info
Creator 3 1 Year Return to Base Yes USB Stick/Ethernet/WiFi Flashprint 0.05mm 2,660.00 More Info
Silhouette
Silhouette Alta 1 Year Return to Base Yes USB Silhouette 3D 0.05mm 450.00 More Info
Robox
RoboxDual 2 Year Return to Base Yes USB Automaker 0.02mm 1,240.00 More Info
RoboxPro 2 Year Return to Base Yes USB/Ethernet/WiFi Automaker 0.05mm 4,105.00 More Info
MakerBot
Sketch 1 Year Return to Base Yes USB/Ethernet/WiFi MakerBot Print 0.1mm 2,220.00
(Pack of 2)
More Info
Replicator+ 1 Year Return to Base No USB/Ethernet/WiFi MakerBot Print 0.1mm 2,420.00 More Info
Method 1 Year On-Site
(UK Mainland only)
Yes USB/Ethernet/WiFi MakerBot Print 0.02mm 6,060.00 More Info
Method X 1 Year On-Site
(UK Mainland only)
Yes USB/Ethernet/WiFi MakerBot Print 0.02mm 7,870.00 More Info
Ultimaker
2+ Connect 1 Year Return to Base No USB Stick/Ethernet/WiFi Cura 0.02mm 2,460.00 More Info
S3 1 Year Return to Base Yes USB Stick/Ethernet/WiFi Cura 0.02mm 3,900.00 More Info
Roland
ARM-10 1 Year On-Site
(UK Mainland only)
Yes USB monoFAB Player AM 0.1mm 4,240.00 More Info