It's More Than a Printer: What You Need to Know About Additive Manufacturing

December 12, 2016

Additive manufacturing (also known as 3D Printing) is more than your average print job. While it's certainly faster than traditional methods, it doesn't exactly work like the printer in your office.

What exactly is SLS?

SLS stands for Selective Laser Sintering. It's the specific manufacturing technology we use at NW Rapid. SLS allows us to make high-quality, durable prints that are longer lasting and higher quality that other 3D printing options.

How can I print something?

Every part, prototype and model we print starts with a CAD file. That's a Computer Aided Design file. The right computer programs allow you to create a design on a 3D plane with measured specifications so you can see what it would look like after printing. Make sure to check our design guidelines for a cleaner, better print.

How is this different from a 3D printer I can buy online?

Quality is probably the biggest difference between the products we manufacture and what you might print at home. Our machines are professional quality with expert manufacturers behind them. We also use high-quality materials you probably don't use at home. A perk of being professional manufacturers is the knowledge of the precise materials necessary for each prototype, part or project. If you need to make parts for more than novelty, you don't want to use a printer from eBay.

Can I mix additive manufacturing with traditional manufacturing?

Yes, of course! 3D printing is a great complement to more traditional methods. In fact, we work closely with industrial companies to provide working parts for their products. For example, we've designed and produced thousands of parts that have been installed in drones. The plastic materials we use are nylon 11 and nylon 12-based materials that are durable enough for flight.

Additive manufacturing, like any other form of manufacturing, is a mixture of art and technical skill. While not every design is ready to print, we can work with you to perfect the dimensions for a part or prototype that works for you and your purposes. Call today to get started and see how your manufacturing can transform with the addition of additive manufacturing.

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