Some 3D Printing FAQs
What is 3D printing?
3D printing, aka. additive manufacturing, is prototyping process in which a real object is created from a digital design.
How much does it cost?
The short answer is: “it depends”. The cost is comprised of 3 parts: the amount of materials consumed, total print time and the labor. Man-hours will be charged on an hourly basis and vary from project to project, depending on the quality of the digital model and the amount of post-processing work needed.
How long does it take?
Print time is a combination of a number of factors, but is primarily dictated by the vertical dimension of the part. A general rule of thumb is about an inch per hour but this is only a guideline and can vary from part to part.
How many colors can you print?
The printers use HP inkjet printheads to distribute the colored binder, allowing more than 6 million printable colors at a resolution of 600 x 540 dpi.
What is the largest model you can print?
Our printers have a maximum build size of 10 x 15 x 8 inches with a minimum feature size of 0.004 inches. In practice, we’ve found that parts that are less than 1/8 inch thick require special handling during the manufacturing process. If you need a larger model, we can construct it in pieces and assemble it with mechanical fasteners.
What is it made of?
Our models are made primarily of calcium sulfate, similar to gypsum wallboard or Plaster of Paris. The dry powder is bound during the printing process with colored ink and then treated with an infiltrant to increase the strength of the part, making it more resistant to moisture.
Recent 3D Models
Translucent Resource Model
This model is printed on the Stratasys Connex3 through one of our vendors. This machine prints in translucent PolyJet material, allowing the user to "see into the ground".
Topography Model (ABS)
Blattman Brothers Consulting
Mine surface topography models printed in ABS plastic
Cut and Fill Grading Model
Pieces correspond to an activity that can be used during planning and discussions.
Conceptual Mine Plan
Conceptual short-term mine plan with removable "puzzle" pieces representing different phases of production
Conceptual mine plan
Long-range mine plan with removable "puzzle" pieces for different production areas and pit-lake formation
Digital model vs printed model
Can you tell which image is of the printed model and which is purely digital?
Conceptual mine plan
Long-range mine plan with removable "puzzle" pieces. "What the quarry looks like now" image vs. the pit lake formation and final mine configuration.