Need Help Creating a File for 3D Printing?

We will help develop a 3D CAD design of your product that you can use for 3D printing, prototyping & mass production. The file we create for you can be sent to any 3D printing, prototyping & mass production company in the world so you don’t have to stay with us after the design is complete (but we’d love it if you did!).

Just send us a sketch with dimensions, an image of a similar product or a 2D file of your desired product. Once we see what you need to do we can easily quote your entire project in just a few minutes. Call us today for a quote on 1-888-202-2052.

3D Printing Online and 3D CAD Modeling

3D CAD software makes it possible to create 2D and 3D objects. Besides drawing components, we can perform both their strength and dynamic analysis using FEA analysis (finite element analysis) to the parts and determine if they will be strong enough for the application before creating them. 3D CAD design enables us to create 3D printed models and test them before moving to the manufacturing phase. There are many 3D CAD softwarepackages available. AutoCAD, Solid Works, Unigraphics, Catia, and Inventor are just some of the 3D CAD software products available. J-CAD Inc. can work in any and provide you with a 3D STL file you can use to 3D print your project.

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Listen to our CEO Jason discussing 3D printing with Jeff from 3D Masterminds

 

The process from sketch to final product

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3D Design – Should You Do It Yourself?

A lot of clients ask us how hard it is to “just learn the software myself and design my own parts!” The short answer to this is it’s VERY hard!

3D Design is just like any other profession. It takes years of schooling and training and then a few more years of using it day in/day out at the workplace before you start to get really good at it. It’s like learning to play tennis, after 100’s of hours of practice you will become good at it.

When your car needs new brakes, you don’t go to mechanic school and become a mechanic for a year to learn all there is to know about fixing cars! You take your car to an expert mechanic and let them handle it for you. The time and money they save you from having to do the job yourself is very valuable.

You don’t have to spend hours learning how to safely change your brakes, you don’t have to buy $1,000’s worth of the proper tools required, and you get to keep your hands clean while they do it for you for a fraction of what it would cost you!

Hiring a 3D designer to design your parts for 3D Printing is no different if not more valuable because it is such a new technology which means very few people in the world know how to do it properly.

There are many new software companies out there that have created 3D design software for 3D printing saying that it’s really easy to learn and it’s FREE for 30 days! The truth is that these companies give you the software for free for 30 days because they know this IS NOT enough time to learn it and you will want to buy their programs when the 30 days is up!
Keep reading…

We have heard from countless frustrated clients spent 100’s of hours trying to learn as much as they could during the 30-day trial, got nowhere with it, and then actually BUY the programs for $1,000 – $5,000!! When they call us they are usually trying to get their money back from the software company and just want us to design the parts for them. To their surprise, MOST parts we design are under $500!Nevertheless, if you are really into it, we will do our best to point you in the right direction.

When deciding if you want to design your own parts, remember; do you want to spend 100’s of hours and then thousands of dollars trying to learn software when J-CAD Inc. can do your entire project for a few hundred dollars and in less than a week!?!
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How does 3D printing work?

3D printing is based on stereolithography. It is a laser based process. It works with polymer resins that react with a laser beam to cure and form a solid. It is a very precise and accurate process. The polymer resin is contained in a vat that is held by a movable structure. The laser beam is the directed in the X-Y axes across the resin. The resin hardens precisely where the laser beam hits during motion. After every layer is complete, the vat is moved to a location where it adds another layer of resin in the Z- axis. This process is repeated until the object is complete.

The motion information of the laser is supplied to the 3D printing machine by the .stl file. STL file format is the primary file format for 3D printing. There is, therefore, need to convert whichever file format of the numerous 3D CAD software file types into STL format so that you can print out your object. Some 3D CAD software products are capable of converting their file formats to STL format, but sometimes they are not able to.

J-CAD can convert files for you and create your files as well. Call us today to find out how to get started!

Preparing Your Idea for 3D Printing.

Wonderful! The time has come for you to realize that idea you’ve had for the past 10 years.

Maybe you’ve found a gap in the market for a consumable, or a product not yet created, or you simply wish to recreate an item you saw in your favorite movie.

Whatever your vision, you need it 3D printed. The hard part is explaining that idea to someone else and having them turn it into something real.

So, what do you do?

Fear not, let’s look at some ways to realize this visual from your mind to something workable. The basic protocol we want to follow is:

  1. Sketch or imaging.
  2. Digital 3D rendering.
  3. The actual 3D print.

Right now, we’ll focus on the first 2 ones

The Sketch

Now let’s begin. our suggestion is to first create a composite or sketch on paper. Not an artist you say? Don’t worry, have a play online to see if there is a similar item out there already in production.
Keep reading…

If, however, your idea is totally unique and new, it might pay you to employ an artist who can draw the design for you if you aren’t able to. Many colleges and universities have programs where you can hire undergrad students who are trying to earn extra cred or make up hours for their degrees. This might save you a couple bucks too.If all else fails, hire a techy or a company that specializes in 3D Printing, like us!.

Also, note that you can photograph your design and upload it to photoshop. You can create an outline of the object by digitizing the design here.

The Rendering
Once the sketch has been made, you can digitally render it using a CAD or Computer Aided Design program. Upon completion, save your file to STL format and Bob’s your uncle.

Not familiar with STL? We can help you prepare your CAD files for 3D print. We’ll simply convert it to STL file format for you.

Once the sample has been submitted, it’s time to upload your image to be digitally prototyped.

When the digital design has been created steps are taken to manufacture the actual product. The product can then be reviewed and altered as required prior to mass production.
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Steps to Go from CAD Design to 3D Printing.

CAD or Computer-Aided Design as it’s known is the practice of computer systems supporting the creation, alteration, study or development of a design.

It’s the step before 3D printing process can take place and is vital to the functionality and aesthetics of the final product. This is where we ensure all features and color have been added to the object.

Now note that there are two types of CAD models.

  1. Solid or Parametric models and
  2. NURBS or Mesh models

The first kind is a parametric model that consists of solid blocks or vectors that have great vastness or size as well as direction.

The second type, or mesh model, is a collection of small triangles that form a complete surface.

Then there is the matter of which file type to use to save the design in to import it to the 3D printer.

There are so many to choose from. While we prefer STL files, there are numerous other options such as .OBJ, VRML, gcode, PLY.AMF.3MF.FBX and .X3G. It’ll mainly depend on the specifications and printer software to establish which is best to use.
Keep reading…

It’s worth a mention that your 3 main file types are IGES or IGS (Initial Graphics Exchange Specification), STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product model data) and STL (Stereolithography or Standard Tessellation Language)Depending on the software you choose to use for your CAD program, the steps are pretty much the same throughout.

Once your design has been digitally created using CAD
Select File and Save As
Set file type to STL (or export STL)
Click on Options and set the level of detail if applicable
Set Deviation as required
Click Save
Import to your 3D printer
It’s important to remember that your model dimensions will also be your print dimensions. So, ensure you have selected the accurate size settings.

Check for any non-manifold or holes in the edges of your design or the object won’t print. Remember to apply any modifiers.

Ensure all parts of your object are seamlessly modeled together to create one solid product. Add supports if necessary or appropriate to your design.
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Do Different Types of 3D Printers Require Different CAD File Types?

As with anything, there is competition, thus we have various types of 3D Printers as well.

These are:

  • Digital Light Processing or DLP
  • Electronic Beam Melting or EBM
  • Selective Laser Sintering or SLS
  • Selective Laser Melting or SLM
  • Fused Deposition Modeling or FDM
  • Stereolithography or SLA
  • Laminating Object Manufacturing or LOM

It’s safe to say that they all work with file types that best suit their programming.

Notably, STL is the most common and most compatible file type out at the moment and should suit most printers.

You will, however, need to consider surface geometry, texture, and color or other common CAD model attributes as well as the service provider or printer software when choosing your file type.
Keep reading…

Reference the options mentioned above, or ask us for assistance.

Can You Design a File for My Home-Based 3D Printer?

Anything is possible as they say, so yes we can!

Though we would love for you to complete the Printing phase with us, we are able to provide the 3D printing files you need.

Simply send us a sketch with all dimensions and details, an image of a similar product or a 2D file of your desired product through our site so that we can provide a quote.
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How is Consumer Level 3D Printing Different to Commercial 3D Printing?

Remember, when we think commercial, we think big! Big as in providing lots of things to lots of people. Supplying to a never saturated consumer market.

Commercial Level 3D printing covers many industries such as automotive, engineering, medical, architectural and so much more. Products are created on a mass scale and some for very heavy equipment and extremely large projects.

Of course, the costs for commercial printing will also be exponentially higher than consumer printing, considering the expensive machinery required, electricity and manpower necessary to complete large and complex tasks.

These machines can range up to $100 000 or more and weigh in at 1000+ pounds. But as they say the bigger the machine, the better the quality, accuracy, speed and resolution.

That investment guarantees better quality products with amazing aesthetics and design factors that desktop level printers aren’t able to.

Products manufactured through commercial 3D printing will provide the consumer market with large amounts of goods in a small amount of time. Various production materials can be used in these machines where the desktop version is severely limited.

It’s important to mention here that Engineers who work with these Professional 3D printers are people who have a high level of knowledge and expertise.
Keep reading…

They work on very intricate and complex products that have various functions and capabilities.Professionals are also educated to use the correct files when preparing designs for print.

Consumer or desktop Level 3D printing, focusses on hobbyist or amateur printers. Creating household or small-scale items. Anything from toys, decorations, jewelry, certain custom parts and so on.

Unfortunately, these desktop printers aren’t powerful or efficient enough to be used for rapid prototyping in any kind of medical, industrial, engineering or machining applications.

Printers used for this type of 3D printing are small and more affordable for home-use and range from $200 to $2000.

You can be guaranteed that people who dabble in 3D printing at home, have no professional training or education and therefore can’t compete on a commercial level. It remains exactly that, a hobby.

Printing in this way will definitely be slow and tedious and the build volume is very small. The largest scale would be approximately 10 X 10 X 10 inches and the resolution about 100 microns.

Home-Based printers limit the complexity of an item and are also not as accurate in their final product so don’t expect Disney quality when printing at home.

At the end of the day, it is always better to hire a professional who can guarantee their work.
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The Just of It.

In conclusion, 3D design and printing is a rapidly evolving and growing industry and it’s clear that it’s more complicated than we think.

Becoming an expert in this field takes time, effort and a tremendous amount of dedication, especially when working and manufacturing on a large industrial or commercial scale.

It is an industry that’s moving so swiftly that continuously improving your knowledge, skills, and services is the key to staying competitive in this ever-changing consumer market.

If, however, your 3D models are made correctly and to specification, you’re left with beautiful designs, or parts that can be assembled to create wondrous tools and or machinery that can complete pretty much any task at any level.

Start your project today with a FREE quote. We’ll get back to you in 5-10 Minutes!

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Why Work with us

  • 15 Years of experience
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  • Services all around the Globe