3D Printing Services in the Austin, TX Area | Rapid Prototyping in Austin

3D Print File Preparation using 3D Scanning

Scan any object and get a file for 3d printing in houston

If your project involves duplicating an existing part and 3d printing another one, we can help. We can capture a 3D scan of the part, create a 3D print file and modify it if needed. You can blow things up, shrink things down, add or change features, the sky is the limit. 

Do You need a 3D file created?

If you don’t have a 3D file already, it is no problem. Our in-house reverse engineering team can create them. for you. 

Do You need something very large?

If you need to prepare a 3D print file for an 8-foot turbine blade or an airplane fuselage, we’re the ones to call.  In fact we can scale any digital model to any size you want.

Do you have need for an unusual material?

We don’t do the 3D printing  in Houston ourselves, but we have outsourced a lot of printing and have some great connections. We’ll be glad to discuss your application and recommend a 3D printing service bureau if we feel one is a good fit. 

Do You just want a helping hand?

We love supporting our customers to accomplish their goals using 3D scanning and 3D printing. You’ll pay a little more than if you “do it yourself”, but with Arrival 3D customers, money is usually not the only consideration. We have assisted customers on many successful projects in which the end result was a 3D printed part.

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    3D printing services

    What if you have never used 3D printing services in houston before?

    While it may seem intimidating at first, in fact many of our new customers are new to 3D printing services. Technical knowledge about 3D printing is not a prerequisite! There are really only a few things you need to get started. You need to have a clear idea what you want to achieve, a little bit of money and a digital 3D model file.  If you don’t have a digital file, we can create one for you.  STL is the format used by most 3D printers, but we can accept other formats and convert it for you in most cases. There are a variety of ways to create a digital 3D model file:

  • If you have a physical part, we can scan it to create the STL file.
  • We can convert your CAD model into an optimized 3D printer file.
  • If you have sketches or drawings, we can create one from those.
  • houston 3D Printing service Options

    There are many options available to you when ordering a 3D-printed part:

  • How big do you want it? Parts can be made larger or smaller than their original size.
  • What type of material do you need? ABS plastic (the same thing Legos are made of) is a common choice.
  • What color do you want?
  • Does the part need to have strength for functional use, or is it just for display purposes? 
  • Can the part be hollow, or does it need to be solid inside?
  • Do you want to make any changes to the part’s shape?
  • How smooth does the surface finish need to be?
  • Do you want to print multiple parts together as an assembly, or parts that fit together a certain way?

    Based on your requirements, we can connect you with a service bureau that will be able to answer all of your concerns and hopefully find a material that meets your needs. 

    If have your own printer and just need help preparing the STL file, we would be glad to support you in that way. Click here for more information on STL File Preparation for 3D Printing.

    We have highly experienced CAD modelers who can model any object that you are wanting to 3D print. We can also capture the shape of any object that you send us using our expert 3D Scanning Services.
    Call today to find out how we can print 3D objects for your business.

  • 3D Printing processes

    The terms 3D Printing Services & Additive Manufacturing encompass several manufacturing processes and can produce items from myriad material options.

    To simplify matters, the ISO/ASTM 52900 Standard was created in 2015 with the aim of standardizing terms & classifying the various types of 3D

    Printing technologies. Each technology and material choice has distinct properties and each has well defined “design guidelines” to ensure successful

    results. It’s important to understand your desired outcome and intended application.

    3D Printing Materials

    There are many material options available for 3D printing services and many more compelling options under development. These materials offer diverse

    physical characteristics for applications ranging from low cost form studies through limited production & highly structural components. Resins can

    feature a wide range of properties from soft/hard through elastic. These formulations can incorporate materials like glass, ceramic or wood, and

    incorporate mechanical properties like high heat or impact resistance. In metal 3D printing services, at this time, metals/alloys with strongly ferromagnetic

    properties are not available. Like most plastics components manufactured via traditional processes, plastics utilized in 3D printing services are susceptible to

    degradation from UV exposure over time.

    multi-material 3d printing

    Already, multi-material & multi-color 3D printing services are available to us in the form of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) devices, although at this time desktop printers remain somewhat limited overall in respect of material properties and scale. On an industrial level multi-material 3D Printing is developing rapidly due to increased interest from manufacturers focussed upon rheology (solids under conditions in which they respond with plastic flow rather than deforming elastically in response to an applied force), superior mechanical properties, and various thermal ranges.

    Multi-material 3D printing services heralds entirely new horizons to the future capabilities of 3D Manufacturing technologies. The ability to be able ability to beable to produce items featuring plastic, rubberized/elastic (flexible) and possibly metallic properties simultaneously in one manufacturing process is fascinating.

    Traditional manufacturing methods present distinct limitations to the simultaneous multi-material production of components. 3D Printing also (Additive

    Manufacturing) presents challenges in respect of manufacturing speed/volume, energy usage and recycling. However, one compelling development

    cannot be ignored: The manufacture of components using several materials simultaneously is a key capability of 3D printing services that could leverage its

    potential well beyond that of other current manufacturing methods. Combined with concurrent developments like the lightweighting benefits of

    generative design, multi-material 3D Printing becomes a very powerful proposition. Multi-material 3D Printing can reduce component count for a given

    design, reduce post processing stages & assembly requirements and promote overall efficiencies in the design of multifunctional objects.

    3D Printing services & Additive Manufacturing Processes Overview

    The processes associated with 3D Printing Services (Additive Manufacturing) have evolved into a number of successful formats, each suited to a variety of


    Vat Polymerization: (Stereolithography (SLA), Direct Light Processing (DLP)

    Stereolithography was developed by Dr. Hideo Kodama and it was first patented in 1986. SLA is recognized as the first 3D Printing process and it remains a very important process today.

    Vat polymerization is a process in which photo-polymer resin is selectively cured within a vat by a light source. There are variations on this theme, the most well known forms being Stereolithography (SLA) and Digital Light Processing (DLP). SLA and DLP resin 3D Printers are utilized for high-accuracy, highly uniform production in a wide range of materials with high resolution and fine finish. The costs associated with these technologies are becoming increasingly affordable over time.

    SLA and DLP 3D printers are very similar in operation, the principal difference being the curing light source employed. SLA 3D Printers use a Solid

    State Laser which cures resin upon a moving build platform within a resin tank on a point by point basis. DLP Printers utilize a digital projector screen

    to flash an image of a layer across the entire platform, curing all points simultaneously. The 3D image projection via DLP is composed of square pixels

    called voxels. Once a layer is completed, the platform within the vat moves a layer thickness, typically 25 to 100 microns (in the Z axis), and a

    subsequent layer is solidified by the laser. This continues until the entire object is completed and the platform can be raised out of the vat for removal

    of excess resin. Some functional materials like engineering or biocompatible parts also require post-curing. Both SLA and DLP resin 3D printers are

    among the most accurate and precise 3D printing processes.

    Print speeds for SLA & DLP are somewhat comparable, but DLP is faster for larger parts because the DLP Projector “flash” hardens an entire layer in

    one step. The most recent development in this technology is Low Force Stereolithography (LFS). LFS 3D printing reduces the forces exerted on parts during the

    print process, and delivers even greater definition and surface finish while lower print forces enable lighter, and more easily removed, support

    structures. Both SLA & DLP are especially useful for certain types of parts because the process is not limited by requirements such as draft angles and undercuts

    that define part design by traditional processes. As a result, parts which might previously have been assembled from 2 or 3 pieces can be produced in

    one, saving weight & increasing strength.

    Material Extrusion: Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)

    Material extrusion is the most widely used, inexpensive & accessible form of 3D Printing. The process, referred to as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), feeds plastic filament into a heated printhead where it’s melted & extruded in predetermined paths onto a print bed. Thermoplastic filaments are supplied on spools. Typical layer height used in FDM varies between 50 and 400 microns and, layer by layer, a component is formed. Various structural properties can be achieved per the plastic filaments chosen but key to structural integrity in larger parts is “line adhesion”. Line adhesion reflects the degree of melt adhesion of new filament onto existing printed filament and can be affected by the print head capabilities, heated print beds, and the environment temperature. Support structures are  sometimes required if a design has, for example, overhanging elements. Components produced via this process have a distinct contoured appearance due to the filament process. 

    Powder Bed Fusion (Polymers): Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

    Polymer powder is first heated in a bin to near melting point. This powder is then swept across a build platform in a very thin layer (typically 100-120 microns) where it is exposed to a C02 Laser which sinters & solidifies a cross section of the  component. At this point the build platform moves downward by one layer thickness and the process is repeated layer by layer until a complete part is formed. The excess powder, not solidified by the sintering process, serves as the support structure. The process is very useful for certain types of parts because this process is not limited by the draft angles and undercuts which define part design by traditional processes.

    Powder Bed Fusion is a 3D Printing process which utilizes a thermal light source to selectively fuse powdered particles in a bed to progressively create a solid component. This process, which uses Polymer powder, is called Selective Laser  sintering (SLS).

    Powder Bed Fusion (Metals): Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Electron Beam Melting (EBM)

    Metal Powder Bed Fusion, or “Metal 3D Printing”, is similar to SLS but is adapted to the fusing of metal instead of polymer powders, one layer at a time until a part is created. Each process utilizes a means to introduce a new powdered layer upon the previous but the primary difference between DMLS, SLM and EBM is the means of fusing the powder via targeted heat source.

    SLM uses single metal powders of a consistent melting point and fully melts & fuses the particles. DLMS uses alloys of differing melting points that fuse on a molecular level at an elevated temperature. The primary structural difference between the two being density and porosity. Due to the inherently high temperatures applied layer upon layer, methods by which to minimize distortion are utilized including support structures and post processing heat treatment to relieve stresses within the component. Typical layer thickness is 20 – 50 μm. Both SLM and DMLS create dense metal engineering usable parts.

    EBM employs a high energy beam to generate fusion between metal particles layer by layer until a part is created, and it is faster than both SLM and DMLS because of its higher energy output. EBM also differs from SLM and DMLS because the process must operate within a vacuum and the metal powder must be conductive.

    Material Jetting: Drop on Demand (DOD)

    Material Jetting is a 3D printing process in which photo-polymer resin, or wax, droplets are selectively cured upon a build plate by a light source. The droplets are deposited in predetermined positions to form a cross section, then cured and the process repeated, layer by layer, until an object takes form. This process lends itself easily to multi-material & multi-color 3D Printing.

    The Material Jetting (MJ) process is similar to inkjet printer technology and, while an inkjet printer deposits a single layer of ink, a material jetting device deposits droplets of photopolymer, cured via UV light, layer by layer in order to create a solid part. After each layer is cured, the build platform drops downwards one layer thickness and the process is repeated. Typical layer height used in Material Jetting is 16 – 32 microns. This form of 3D Printing technology operates with rapid, linear deposits of material and is capable of producing multiple models at a comparatively rapid pace. The nature of the process dictates that support structures must be incorporated into 3D Printing which are dissolved post process.

    Drop on Demand (DOD) 3D Printing differs from Material Jetting in that it deposits build material and dissolvable support material simultaneously, and deposits material in a point by point manner, more typical of other types of 3D Printing technologies. DOD printers are typically utilized to create molds suited to lost wax or investment casting applications.

    Binder Jetting (BJ)

    Binder Jetting is a 3D Printing process where a powder bed of material is selectively bonded via a liquid bonding agent. The process lends itself to materials including metals, sand & ceramics and can accommodate full-color sand through low cost 3D Printed metal parts. Print heads similar to those employed in 2D printers sweep a layer of powder and deposit photosensitive binder droplets which cure via UV light over time until, layer by layer, a component is formed. Once curing is complete, the component is removed from the powder bed and excess powder is removed with compressed air. The process is similar to SLS however utilizing a binder agent instead of heat fusion reduces cost. Binder Jetting enables high dimensional accuracy & complex geometries combined with a smooth surface finish at relatively low cost. The parts are strong and the process allows for multi-material printing in a wide array of materials including metals, plastic transparent and rubberized options.

    Sand Binder Jetting devices enable low cost options for full color sandstone & gypsum printing as well as sand cast molds and cores. After cleaning

    the parts are typically ready for use with no post processing necessary. Additional strength can be achieved with an infiltrant and colors can be

    enhanced via special coatings. Sand Binder Jetting is especially useful in the foundry business where complex part geometries enable component

    reduction at the design level combined with dimensional accuracy and low cost.

    Metal Binder Jetting differs from Sand Binder Jetting in that to achieve functional strength, metal powder bonded via a polymer binding agent is cured

    via a secondary process such as infiltration or sintering. Metal powder bound via polymer binding agent creates a solidified, but fragile, part referred to

    as a “Green State” component. Post-processing steps required to imbue metal parts with mechanical strength include sintering or infiltration with a low

    melting point metal such as bronze.

    The primary benefits of this process are the complex geometries possible in comparison to traditional methods. These complex shape capabilities

    serve to reduce component count at the design level which aids in reducing weight while increasing strength in many cases. These benefits alone

    make the process viable for many applications.

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    large Format 3D printing

    Capabilities for large format 3D Printing services are developing fast with various approaches to realization of projects in a variety of materials. In a very competitive space developers including Norsk Titanium, ExOne, Voxeljet, D-shape and mony more are creating large format 3D Printers based upon Material Extrusion, Fused Filament Fabrication, Direct Metal Laser Sintering, Binder Jetting and Direct Metal Deposition. It will take time to see which of these processes proves most effective and the breadth and scope of projects under development is compelling.

    For all your 3D printing services needs, call Arrival 3D!

    3d printing services Gallery

    Here are some examples of parts that people are creating using 3D printing services:

    People are innovating in America and are using 3d printing services technology to create new products and opportunities. While we do not to the printing ourselves, we can assist with file preparation to set you up for success in your 3D printing project.