FAQ

WHAT IS 3D PRINTING? HOW DOES 3D PRINTING WORK?

3D printing is a way to prototype parts rapidly in which a real object is created from a 3D design. The digital 3D model can be saved in a variety of standard formats including STL and OBJ and then uploaded to a 3D printer for processing. The 3D printer then prints the design layer by layer and forms a real object.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FDM AND SLA?

Aurora Cubic 3D printer is using FDM method.

FDM -> Fused Deposition Modelling.
This is the type of printer that is most common and can be readily made with a few simple parts.It works by heating up a piece of plastic and forcing it out of a small hole in the same manner as toothpaste. Imagine drawing a picture with just a tube of toothpaste by squeezing a line out and going forward, backward, left and right only.

Let that first picture harden and then do the same again slightly higher with the next layer of the part you wish to build. The plastic mentioned above is referred to as filament and can come in a variety of materials, textures and colours. Different materials can be used for different applications. Wood, plastic, metal and rubber type materials are all used by 3D printers.

SLA -> Stereolithography
SLA is a form of additive manufacturing technology used for creating models, prototypes and production parts in a layer by layer fashion using photopolymerization, a process by which light causes chains of molecules to link together forming polymers.

WHAT MATERIAL IS USED IN FDM 3D PRINTING?

Plastic filament is unwound from a spool and is pushed into an extrusion nozzle which can turn the flow on and off. The most common materials are ABS and PLA.

WHAT IS THE MATERIAL USED WHEN SLA 3D PRINTING?

In this type of 3D printing a photopolymer resin is used. Wherever the ultraviolet(UV) light hits the resin it cures (hardens), creating the object layer by layer.

HOW LONG DOES A 3D PRINT TAKE?

That depends on several factors: The size of your model The material you are using The layer height (smaller layers mean more layers to print) The complexity of your model Whether the object needs supports The most common slicers give to you the estimated time of print the model, but since external factors affect the job the print could use more time or less.

WHERE DO I FIND 3D MODELS TO PRINT?

There are many CAD (Computer Aided Design) solutions that are used for designing parts, they all have their own advantages and disadvantages in their area of design. Here are some free 3D design software : TinkerCad, SketchUp, Fusion 360, FreeCAD & Blender.

WHERE CAN I BUY FILAMENT?

We supply 2 common materials : ABS and PLA.

WHICH FILAMENT THICKNESS IS BETTER: 1.75MM FILAMENT OR 3MM?

Neither. You often don’t get the choice – some printers use the thinner filament, some the thicker. It’s all down to the design of the print head. Check which thickness is appropriate for your printer, and stick with it. 1.75mm filament is a lot more flexible and needs less pressure to print with. 3mm filament is not flexible and can snap if bent too far. It also requires more torque on motors to push it into the extruder.

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY EXTRUDER NOZZLE SIZES? WHICH SHOULD I CHOOSE?

0.1mm, 0.2mm, 0.3mm, 0.35mm, 0.4mm, 0.5mm, 1mm. So many choices, only one extruder. Which one should I go for? Consider the type of prints you are doing. is it something with lots of detail such as a face or something flat like a box?

A box won’t need much detail so you can get away with bigger size nozzles. This will also mean the print will finish much faster. Something intricate will benefit from a smaller nozzle size but take much longer to print.

As an example of the length of time different nozzle diameters take time to print here is a table:
1mm 1 minute per layer. 1 layer. Total time 1 minute. Very poor quality – like gluing string to paper.
0.5mm 2 minutes per layer, 2 layers to get to the same layer height as 1mm. Total time 4 minutes. Poor quality but acceptable for low resolution prints.
0.4mm 2.5 minutes per layer, 2.5 layers to get to the same layer height as 1mm. Total time 5 minutes. Fair quality, fair resolution.
0.35mm 3 minutes per layer, 3 layers to get to the same layer height as 1mm. Total time 9 minutes. Good quality, good resolution.
0.3mm 3.3 minutes per layer, 3.3 layers to get to the same layer height as 1mm. Total time 11 minutes. Very good quality, high resolution.
0.2mm 5 minutes per layer, 5 layers to get to the same layer height as 1mm. Total time 25 minutes. Extremely good quality, very high resolution.
0.1mm 10 minutes per layer, 10 layers to get to the same layer height as 1mm. Total time 100 minutes. Stunning quality, difficult to see the individual layers.

As you can see the smaller nozzle sizes cause a massive difference to print times but the detail increases.

Which one should you choose?

For a beginner .4mm would be a good choice because of the speed vs quality. Consider getting an extruder with replaceable heads so you would not be tied down with this initial choice later on.