The Technology HouseSea, Air and Space

Archive for the ‘3D Printing’ Category

3D Printing Resources for You

Posted on: February 5th, 2015 by The Technology House

We here at The Technology House are proud to introduce our 3D printing application and finishing handouts!

These handouts were created to help you understand the major 3D printing and additive manufacturing techniques, helping you choose the correct processes, and finishes.  These can easily be printed out and used as your reference while you create the best product possible using our technologies and processes.

What’s Included?

Here’s a brief rundown of the topics and main points our handouts cover:

-3D Printing Applications? What application is correct for your particular situation? If you are confused about where to start and what service to use, then use these handouts to learn what 3D printing process is best for your.

-3D Printing Finishes. Captivate your audience by having a custom finish to your 3D printed parts.  Learn what finishes are available for your specific needs.

-3D Printing Materials. What’s the difference between SLA and DMLS? What’s the advantage of ABS material over PC material? We discuss the different types of printing materials as well as their unique applications on each of the various areas of 3D printing.

Click here for printable version of our 3D printing finishes.

Click here for printable version of 3D printing applications.


Request a Quote for your 3D printing project



What’s the Difference in Clear 3D Printing Finishes?

Posted on: January 28th, 2015 by The Technology House

When clear prototype parts are needed, one of the most popular methods is to print the parts in a clear SLA material.  SLA is one of the most used 3D printing processes because it offers the benefits of high-quality surface finishes, part accuracy, and quick turnaround.  You can receive your clear SLA prototypes from us in a matter of days.

Clear prototypes are needed for a variety of reasons.  Some of the main reasons are to mimic the production piece, diffuse light, or show the interior of a part during the product testing.  But did you know that there are different clear finishes?  And how do you know which one is right for you?  Knowing which finish is best for you can help you save time and money as well as receiving parts that meet your expectations.

A clear finish on a SLA prototype can be applied in two different ways.

Quick Clear
The first is what we call a “Quick Clear” finish.  This involved light sanding to be done to the part, and then a clear coat is applied.  The part will be clear, but build lines will still be visible.  This is beneficial if one is cost conscious since less labor is required for this finish.  A part with a quick clear finish can be beneficial for a variety of applications such as show models, design review, process application testing.

Quick Clear Finish Sample

Supreme Clear
A “Supreme Clear” finish is similar to a Quick Clear finish, but all of the build lines are removed with a Supreme Clear finish.  The part will have more of a show quality finish, and will better mimic the production piece.  This type of finish is heavily used for trade show and sales presentation models, light diffusion testing, and design review.

Supreme Clear Finish Sample

Every day, we produce and finish parts to our customer’s precise specifications.  It is easy to get lost in the forest of part finishes, but this blog can serve as a guide for you and allow us to better understand and meet your needs.

Download 3D Printing Handbook

TTH 3D Printing Handbook

Posted on: January 22nd, 2015 by The Technology House

Get Our Handbook on 3D Printing

We here at The Technology House are proud to introduce our 3D printing handbook!  This handbook was created to help you understand the major 3D printing and additive manufacturing techniques, helping you choose the correct process, and offer design tips.  Our intention with this handbook is to help you create the best product possible using our technologies and processes.

3D Printing Handbook

What’s Included?

Here’s a brief rundown of the topics and main points we cover in our free handbook:

-What is 3D Printing? Get the rundown on what makes additive manufacturing technologies unique over other forms of manufacturing and get insight into why people choose to get prototyping and other services through this process rather than through mainstream methods.

-3D Printing History. Learn about how it all began and what the first 3D printers looked like leading all the way up into today’s technology.

-3D Printing Types. What’s the difference between soft tooling and hard tooling? What’s the advantage of a urethane mold versus metal printing? We discuss the different types of printing as well as their unique applications on each of the various areas of prototyping.

-Choosing the Best Process. What application is correct for your particular situation? If you’re confused about where to start and what service to use, this chapter of our handbook will help clear up the fog and get a better concept of what work is really needed.

-3D Printing Design Tips. Have a design? Great! We’ll help make sure that it turns out exactly how you imagined when it comes time to print it.

-Developing with TTH. Learn how our operation can help simplify the additive manufacturing process for you.

Click the Link Below to Download Our Handbook!

Download 3D Printing Handbook



3D Printed Trophies

Posted on: December 29th, 2014 by The Technology House

After 16 exciting (or grueling depending on who you ask) weeks, our 2014 Fantasy Football League has come to an end.  The winners of our league received these coveted 3D printed trophies.

3D printed trophies

We personalized the trophies by designing in the winners’ names on each one.

The parts were 3D printed in the SLA process in an ABS-like material. This material was used due to its accuracy and surface finish.  The parts were printed over the Christmas holiday.  While we were enjoying time with our loved ones, the parts were running unattended on our SLA machines.

Afterwards, the second place trophy was painted silver, and the first place trophy was painted gold.

3D Printed Trophies

It took about a week to print, finish, and paint these trophies. Show models like these are one of the many benefits of 3D printing.

In addition, we have now published a 3D printing handbook on our website. This handbook is an all encompassing guide on 3D printing, and is available for download here.

Request a Quote for your 3D printing project

What is the difference between 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing, and Rapid Prototyping?

Posted on: December 8th, 2014 by The Technology House

Although the technology is about 30 years old, 3D Printing, has been well documented and defined during the past couple of years. We are frequently asked by people new to the industry if there is any difference in terminology between 3D printing, additive manufacturing, and rapid prototyping.

Between the terms 3D printing and additive manufacturing, there is no difference. 3D printing and additive manufacturing are synonyms for the same process. Both terms reference the process of building parts by joining material layer by layer from a CAD file.  This is as opposed to a traditional manufacturing process, like CNC Machining, where a part is built by subtracting material from a block of material. 3D printing and additive manufacturing can be used regardless if the parts are fabricated in plastic, metal, or rubber.

3d printing vs additive manufacturing

Based off our general perception, it seems as though people who work in an industrial or manufacturing setting prefer additive manufacturing since it sounds more formal. In comparison, the media and hobbyists prefer the term 3D printing. The term 3D printing has been used more ever since inexpensive desktop printers became more popular.

The term rapid prototyping is different from 3D printing/additive manufacturing. Rapid prototyping is the technique of fabricating a prototype model from a CAD file. In other words, 3D printing/additive manufacturing is the process, and rapid prototyping is the end result. Rapid prototyping is one of many applications under the 3D printing/additive manufacturing umbrella.

Request a Quote for your 3D printing, additive manufacturing, or rapid prototyping project.


3D Printing Fixtures and Jigs with FDM

Posted on: November 22nd, 2014 by The Technology House

Fixtures and Jigs are used to assemble, align, hold, and fit check parts during the various stages of the manufacturing process.  Fixtures and jigs are heavily relied on in order to help maintain the quality of the parts, and production efficiency.  Fixtures and jigs should not be overlooked, for they help make the manufacturing process run efficiently.

Fixtures and jigs printed in the Fuse Deposition Modeling (FDM) process can help avoid any halts in the manufacturing process.  FDM fixtures and jigs can be produced in days rather than weeks or months when compared to producing fixtures and jigs through traditional machining processes.

FDM fixtures and jigs can be printed in ABS, PC, or ULTEM material. The material can be tailored to your objective.  For example, if the part needs to withstand high heat, then the fixture/jig should be printed in ULTEM. Regardless of which material is used, all FDM materials are very durable, and can withstand most handling.

In addition, if there is the potential for several iterations, then one-off FDM’s will be more cost effective than one-off machined fixtures.

Benefits to FDM Fixtures and Jigs:
-Reduced cost
-Durable materials
-Reduced Lead time
-More complex designs can be created
-Revised fixtures can be easily produce


Request a Quote for your 3D printing project


Getting in the Holiday Spirit With 3D Printing

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by The Technology House

We recently took part in the “3D Printed Ornament Design Challenge” that was presented by Instructables.  Instructables is a website specializing in user-created and uploaded do-it-yourself projects.

There were over 300 entry’s into this contest, and the people ranged from individuals new to 3D printing to seasoned professionals. All the designs and models were very creative, and each had their own unique look and flare that reflected the magic of the holiday season. The winners will have their ornament printed, and displayed on the White House Christmas tree.

We designed, printed, and finished and dyed snowflake ornaments either clear, blue, or green, and then frosted.  The snow flakes were printed in the SLA process using the 7870 material.

3D printed snowflake ornaments

The entire process from design to finish took us less than a week, which goes to show how quickly 3D printing can produce parts.

3D printed snowflake ornaments

Although we did not win, we applaud those who did, and thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the entries.

Request a Quote for your 3D printing project

6 Most Unusual Prototype Requests. Part II of II

Posted on: October 31st, 2014 by The Technology House

In this second of two blog series, we will discuss some of the more interesting and outside the box thinking prototype requests we have ever received.  Each one of these projects utilized different processes and materials to meet their specific objectives.


Outer Space Smoke Detector
Smoke produced in a reduced gravity environment does not exhibit the same characteristics as smoke produced on Earth.  As such, the smoke detection and suppression systems on a space craft has to be designed accordingly.  The Smoke Aerosol Measurement Experiment (SAME) was a highly successful experiment in which valuable data of smoke particle was collected and analyzed to assist in the development of future fire detection and suppression systems for space craft.

3D printed parts for the Smoke Aerosol Measurement Experiment (SAME)

The red arrows indicate some of the components that were 3D printed.

Many of the pieces that went into building SAME were 3D printed and rapid prototyped. The 3D printed parts were fabricated in the 5530 high heat SLA material.  Traditionally, flight hardware mainily consists of metal and other non-flammable components  As a result the SLA’s were coated with nickel in order to make them less flammable and improve structural rigidity.

3D printed parts in use on the International Space Station

Fully assembled and in use on the International Space Station.

A customer required replicas of a 1714 Stradivarius Violin in order to show the shape and contour of the violin.  Since this type of violin is so rare, prototypes needed to be produced.  We used an actual 1714 Stradivarius Violin as a master to make a silicone mold, and then mold cast urethanes in an ABS plastic. These prototypes are accurate renditions in the look and feel of the original violin.

Lemonade Stand
A customer needed a trade show model of their new product, a children’s lemonade stand.  The product needed to be fabricated and fully finished and painted in a short amount of time.  Components were 3D printed and CNC machined from plastic and foam.  Once all the parts were made, the parts were then finished and painted to replicate the production model.  The customer heavily relied on us for process and material recommendations.  The prototype was completed on-time, and under budget.

3D model of lemonade stand


Request a Quote for your 3D printing project


6 Most Unusual Prototype Requests. Part I of II

Posted on: October 22nd, 2014 by The Technology House

In this new two part blog series, we will review the 6 most unusual prototype requests we have ever received. The first part will cover 3 requests that misunderstood 3D printing, and the second part will cover 3 unusual requests that pushed the boundaries of 3D printing.

The objective of this first blog is to help properly educate our readers on the proper steps to inquire about 3D printing and rapid prototyping . While the second part will help open up your eyes to show what can be accomplished with 3D printing.

1) Printing off a Homemade Video
We were once asked to quote and build a part off a YouTube video. Despite the great production quality, 3D printing is done off CAD files. Specifically 3D printers read CAD files in an .stl format.  Although the video is a good reference of how the product functions, this can only be used as a reference.

2) Printing off Hand Drawn Sketches
A customer once mailed via the post office a hand written request for quote with hand written sketches. Although the sketches were a good starting point on what was needed, it was not adequate information to build a part to.  Any images, whether hand drawn or professional 2D prints, will help show how the product functions.  The product needs to be properly designed in CAD software for it to be made.

3) Printing Fully Assembled Production Parts
A customer once asked us to 3D print couches. But the customer was expecting life-size, fully functional couches with all the same fabrics as the couch in one’s living room to be printed. This is a misunderstanding of the capabilities of 3D printing. 3D printing fabricates parts in plastic, rubber, or metal, not materials like wood and fabric. In addition 3D printing primarily prints components and not fully functional products. One must also be aware of the interaction of the mating parts and the assembly of the product as it is being designed and printed.

If you are interested in learning more about the applications and history of 3D printing, then here is a link to our website.

Next week we will discuss certain projects that have pushed the boundaries of 3D printing……..even all the way to outer space.

Request a Quote for your Prototype



How Can You Get Production-like Prototypes Faster?

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by The Technology House

Stereolithography (SLA) is a 3D printing process most well known for creating dimensionally and visually accurate prototypes. But SLA’s can be used in injection molding to fabricate production parts.

Below is an image of a SLA mold that is used in injection molding. This strain relief was overmolded onto the cable.  We call this a “SLAM” (SLA Molding) Tool.

SLA Mold with SLAM tool

Rather than building an insert tool out of aluminum, or steel, we fabricate the tool in a high heat SLA.  The SLA tool can be ready to mold parts in as little as 1-2 business days. Materials ranging from rubber, to ABS, and to Glass-Filled Nylon can be injected into this tool.  This process is ideal for simple designed parts in quantities ranging from 1-25.

SLA Mold

A SLAM Tool allows you to better satisfy your prototype and production needs in a more time and cost effective manner.

Request a Quote for your 3D Printing project