You can learn how to 3D model by learning how to use 3D modeling tools such as Rhino, Blender or SketchUp. It will take you a few weeks to become familiar with these software packages and half a year or more to become an accomplished user. But, if you would like us to 3D model something for you, contact one of our global facilities with a detailed description of what you need and we’ll get back to you with an estimate.
There is no “best” 3D modeling software. However, there are a lot of really good software packages such as Rhino®, Maya®, and SolidWorks®. But, CAD software such as AutoCAD® and Pro Engineer® also work well for 3D printing. If you’re just getting started, you can try SketchUp® or Blender®, and both can be downloaded for free.
You can upload .STL, .STD, .IGS, .MODEL, .3DS, .MXP, .OBJ, .WRL, .3DM and .SKP file formats to ExOne. If you have a large file, or a number of files, you can also use the RAR and ZIP formats to compress them and upload these to us.
Absolutely – and we can execute formal nondisclosure agreements for further protection. We will never share customer files without written consent.
Each 3D model we receive goes through a comprehensive evaluation process, which will pinpoint any errors in the file. You then have a choice of making the adjustments yourself and resending the file, or having our qualified 3D designers make the necessary changes for you.
The minimum wall thickness and level of detail depend on the process being used and the size and shape of the design. For metal and glass, we recommend a minimum of 1.5 mm (0.060 in) detail for smaller parts and 2.3 mm (0.090 in) for larger components. For sand molds and cores, walls thickness depends on the alloy as well as the thickness to length ratio. Typical details of 3 mm (0.1 in) in aluminum and 6 mm (0.2 in) in steel are possible.
ExOne produces some of the world’s largest 3D printers. For metal and glass our largest build area is 780 x 400 x 400 mm (30.7 x 15.75 x 15.75 in). For sand, our largest build area is 1800 x 1000 x 700 mm (70 x 39 x 27 in).