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Everything you wanted to know about Rapid Prototyping and more.

What is Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid Prototyping or RP is a name given to a variety of technologies used to create 3 dimensional models directly from CAD files. It is also known 3D printing. These technologies create models using an additive process building up the model in thin layers of material. This method has advantages to the more common subtractive fabrication methods such as milling and turning where you start with a block of material and remove what is not wanted.

These terms just stand for producing the finished part directly from the CAD data. In this case the parts must be made with high performance materials such as ABSplus. It is useful in situations where you need 1000 items or less. After that it is more cost effective to manufacture the part with moulds or tooling.

What is Fused Deposition Modeling or FDM?
The FDM process extrudes the heated ABS material and deposits it layer by layer to form a 3D model. A support material, that can be either soluble or breakaway, maintains the exact shape of the model until the plastic cools and becomes solid.

What are the primary uses of Rapid Prototyping?
Our ABS and ABSplus models are very durable and can be drilled and tapped for testing in real life situations to verify the success of your product. You can use our prototypes for a variety of applications which include:

 -concept models
 -form, fit and function testing
 -refining designs before manufacturing the final product
 -concept models for sales or marketing presentations
 -review of feature details
 -testing snap fit and mating details in the actual assembly
 -low volume Rapid Manufacturing

Who would use our services?
Anyone could use our services including: the automotive industry, electronics, toys, industrial goods, medical, toys, consumer products, inventors, and education.

How smooth a surface can FDM provide?
Parts are built with a layer thickness of .006 but some stepping does occur. The parts can be sanded and filled to obtain a smoother finish. The orientation of the part in the chamber as it is being built can create a smoother or a stronger finished model depending on the function it is to perform.

Are your materials toxic?
Our FDM machine uses ABS and ABS PLUS plastics that are not hazardous and are fully recyclable. There are no toxic chemicals used in the production of our models.

What adhesives can I use if I need to fix or join a part?
 Super Glue or "Hot Stuff -Special T" works well to fix or join ABS and ABS PLUS parts. "Hot Stuff" is available at Lee Valley.

How large a part can I make?
You can build parts up to 10"x10"x12" in one piece, but larger pieces can be made in sections and glued together with excellent accuracy.

What is the dimensional accuracy of these parts?
FDM models maintain an accuracy of ± 0.005 inches depending on the accuracy of the CAD file received.

What is an STL file?
The .STL file is the standard data transmission file used in Rapid Prototyping. It looks like a wire frame as it uses triangles to imitate the surfaces of a solid model.

How do I create an STL file from my CAD software?
It is usually as easy as selecting File, Save As, and .stl.  If it is a problem, we do accept any 3D CAD file and we will change it to an STL file in Solidworks.

What if I am not able to upload files via the Internet?
We will be happy to assist you to:
- send your file to our FTP site
- attach the file to an email
- save your file on a disk or CD and mail it to us

What colours can I get?(see spec sheets on the download page) 

ABSplus is available in natural, white, black, and dark grey 

Do you have clear parts?
Only in rubber silicone moulded pieces.

How are the parts finished?
All soluble or breakaway material is removed and the parts are washed, lightly wet sanded and sprayed with a sealer.

Can I paint the parts?
It is possible to paint the parts to get a professional finish. The model needs to be fine sanded and sealed before painting.  If you want, we can also prepare your model ready for painting. This of course will take extra time and at an additional cost.

How do I my place order?
Email us your .stl file and we will send you a quote or go to the Contact us page and follow the instructions there. A consultant will contact you regarding your request. We will be able to tell you the cost and how long it will take to get your part delivered.

Will C2R sign non-disclosure agreements?
Yes, we take great care to protect your information and all of our employees sign confidentiality agreements.  We can use yours or you can use the confidentiality agreement on the download page. Print it and FAX it to us.

What happens after I place my order?
After you decide to have your part made you will be invoiced. When it is shipped, we will email you tracking information on your shipment.  All items sold in Ontario now have a 13% HST tax.

What happens if there is a problem with my order?
If there is a problem with your order, or your files cannot be processed, a consultant will contact you and explain the issues and how to correct them. It may be as simple as resaving your STL file and sending us the new copy.

What is our goal?


 Frequently Asked Questions
 FAQ About rapid prototyping
 About our design process