The infill refers to how much material has filled the object internally and is measured as a percentage. In most cases the highest infill rate, which would be 100%, would make the object being printed as strong as it could be (considering the material being used); whereas 20% would be the least strongest. A 20% infill rate is the default for all our FDM printers however for our DLP printers, all the models are printed with a 100% infill rate.
The higher the infill rate the more the print will cost, so it would be a good idea to decide what the best infill rate would be for your print. For a product that you wish to get low volume batch produced, it would be advised to get some samples first to test for strength and weight of the prints to ensure that it is fit for the application it is going to be used in. Higher infill rates do also increase time leads as more material will need to be processed.
Image of different infill rate with an honeycomb pattern infill structure
The resolution refers to the height of each layer, which will have an effect on the surface finish of the model. Resolution is measured in Microns (µ); so for example a model with the layer height of 0.2mm will have a resolution of 200µ. The smaller the layer height the higher the resolution and the more clear small features/details on the model become.
Just like the infill rate, a high resolution will increase lead times as it increases the amount of layers required to complete the full model. FDM prints will fabricate nicely on a relative lower resolution, considering the model is moderately sized; but small/medium objects with a lot of details will need to be fabricated with our DLP printers as they can print with higher resolution. This will also increase the price of prints slightly but not as much as the infill rate would.
Image of different resolutions on a sneaker model which illustrates the difference in surface smoothness between the different micron levels.
The support material refers to scaffolding that is needed whilst the object is being printed. Some object do not require support material but for objects that have features with overhangs over 45° or bridges, they will require scaffolding or the print will fail. This support material is removed by us before posting the model to you however in some cases there will be small scarring, which indicates where support material may have been removed from.
On objects that require minimal support material it is barely noticeable, but on object with large overhangs and bridges scarring may be visible. We always try to orientate the object where scarring will be on the underside of the object for better aesthetics. Support on resin prints are always easy to sand off (which is something we also do free of charge!)
Our different printer technologies have different size limitations; our FDM printers have a maximum build volume of 300mm x 300mm x 400mm; whereas our DLP printers have a maximum build volume of 115mm x 65mm x 155mm. Please bare this in mind when sending files over to us.