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Archive for the ‘Stereolithography (SLA)’ Category

What is the Difference Between High and Normal SLA Resolution?

Posted on: October 19th, 2015 by The Technology House

We are often asked what options one has in SLA resolution. The answer is simple, normal resolution and high resolution. And deciding which option is best for you is simple as well. Normal resolution prints parts at .005” layers, and high resolution prints parts at .002” layers.

Here is a part that we printed in both normal and high resolution.  The part was printed in the same material as well as had the same finish done in post processing.

Side-by-side comparison of Normal and High SLA Resolution

Can you tell the difference?  Take a closer look to see which is which.

Side-by-side comparison of Normal and High SLA Resolution
The part on the left was printed in high resolution, while the part on the right was printed in normal resolution.  As you can see, the details on the left part are more defined than the details on the right part.

Side-by-side comparison of Normal and High SLA Resolution

The left file was the part printed in normal resolution, while the part on the right was printed in high resolution.  The build lines are less visible, and the details are more noticeable on the high resolution part.

After seeing these parts, you may be asking yourself the following questions:

How do I decide which resolution is best for me?
Normal resolution is a good all around use resolution. Customers who need parts for basic form, fit, and function print their parts in normal resolution.  Customers with designs of intricate details, require tight fitting to mating parts, or require tight tolerances print parts in high resolution

Is there a cost difference?
Generally speaking, high resolution parts cost twice as much as normal resolution parts.   This is because build times for high resolution parts are typically twice as long since as normal resolution since parts are being printed at .002” instead of .005”

How large are the build platforms?
We print normal resolution parts on 20”x20”x20” platforms, and our high resolution parts print on 5”x5”x11” platforms. But we are not confined to these dimensions, larger parts can always be printed in sections and then bonded in post processing.

Knowing this information will help take the guessing out of deciding which resolution is best for your parts. This will potentially save you from wasting money and resources on prototypes that do not work for your needs. If you have further question on the difference between the resolutions, then do not hesitate to contact us.

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AMUG 2015 Displays Latest 3D Printing Innovations

Posted on: April 29th, 2015 by The Technology House

Last week, we attended the annual Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) Conference held in Jacksonville, Florida.

The group was just limited to stereolithography (SLA) when it was first founded in the 1990’s.  Throughout the years, new additive manufacturing technologies and companies have been added to the group.

With over 70 vendors and 800 attendees, this was the users group largest conference ever held.  The event encourages information exchange between all attendees, regardless of how long you have been part of the group.  Both big and small companies were in attendance exhibiting the latest innovations in additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

Some notables who were at the conference were Chuck Hull, the inventor of stereolithography (SLA) and the .stl format.  He participated in a very informative Q&A interview session.

Also in attendance was Jason Lopes from Legacy Effects.  If you have seen any of the recent big budget super hero movies, like Iron Man, then you have more than likely seen their work.  The company 3D prints a lot of parts used for the super hero costumes.

These people were just the tip of the ice berg for who attended.  But this event isn’t just about meeting the “who’s who” in the additive manufacturing industry, but rather, it is about collaborating in a fun and welcoming environment in order to progress the industry.

We look forward to attending next years conference, and hope to see you there!

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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.

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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 Printing History

Posted on: August 21st, 2014 by The Technology House

This month, our company turns 18. Throughout this time, we have seen the 3D printing industry jump leaps and bounds. We thought that this would be a good time to highlight some of the major advancements in the industry’s 30 year existence.

-The first 3D Printer was created in 1984 by 3D Systems. The initial process was known as stereolithography (SLA). This process uses UV Lasers to cure photopolymer resins layer by layer.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) was developed and patented at the University of Texas at Austin. SLS is an additive manufacturing technique that uses a laser to sinter powdered material into a solid structure. The laser sintering technique has also expanded to include metal. This process is known as Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS).

-In 1990, Strayasys developed the plastic extrusion technology Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).  FDM is an additive manufacturing process where plastic filament is extruded from a coil of material that builds parts layer by layer.

-As of 2012, the market for 3D printers and services was worth $2.2 billion worldwide.

These are some the major processes that helped build the foundation for the 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Since this time, machines and materials have expanded beyond hard plastics to include rubber and metal. Machines and materials are more readily available. Industries that utilize 3D printing are as far reaching as ever which include architecture, industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military & defense, medical, biotechnology, fashion, jewelry, food, consumer goods, and many others.

3D Printing Innovation Through the Rapid 2014 Conference and Exposition

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

We exhibited at this year’s Rapid Conference and Exposition. This event is one of the most comprehensive events that focus on 3D Printing. There were over 3,400 attendees at this year’s event, which helped make the show one of its best in its 24-year history!

We had a number of our team member who ran our booth, and interacted with a lot of attendees. Below are some of their thoughts on the show and on the 3D Printing industry.

What Were the Major Difference You Saw Between this Year’s Show and Last Year’s?

-Much greater interest in production parts than last year. Last year, everyone seemed to be looking for general information on 3D Printing and additive manufacturing. This year everyone seemed to know the basics and was looking for the next step.

-The audience had a lot more engineers, buyers, and technical/materials personnel looking to either purchase a machine, or purchase services based on current projects or developing for future projects. Last year seemed like everyone was feeling out the industry, how to invest in it, how to make material or parts for it, and how their company could use it. In short, this year seemed to have more specific ideas and projects for additive manufacturing, while last year was much more of an industry research feel.

What Were Some of the Major Industries that Benefited from 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing?

-I think any industry that requires small complex parts with low quantities can benefit from it.

-I can’t speak for how industries have benefitted from additive manufacturing, but my opinion is that medical and aerospace have gotten the most from it. It gives them options. Industrial is using it more and more for non-load bearing parts as well as production fixtures.

Where Do You See 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing Improving the Product Development Process?

-Options for more testing and low volume part production or testing.

-I don’t see additive manufacturing being the be all end all solution for the product development/manufacturing process. I don’t think all parts in 10 years will be made with only additive manufacturing. I see all processes, additive, and subtractive, working together in sync to help stream line the product development and manufacturing.


Learn how our 3D printing and additive manufacturing process can improve your product.

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Project Breakdown: Trade Show Prototypes That Make Great First Impressions

Posted on: February 17th, 2014 by The Technology House

Columbus Ohio based company, Knockout Concepts, is developing a mobile 3D Scanner. Their objective is to create a mobile 3D Scanner that can go wherever you go, and capture whatever what you see. The prototype renders a digital file that is suitable to CAD, 3D animation or 3D printing.

We first came in contact with Knockout Concepts when they needed show model prototypes for a trade show, the Maker Faire in Detroit. We asked Knockout Concept’s founder and CEO, Brooks Myers, the following questions on how additive manufacturing helps his product.

Sample prototype knockout
Why Do You Use Additive Manufacturing?
“Additive manufacturing is an affordable way for us to realize our designs fast so we can test form factors and ergonomics. “

Why Was the SLA Process Chosen?
“We wanted to bring a polished prototype to Maker Faire Detroit. SLA provides a level of finish that appears to be an injection molded part. You only have one chance to make a great first impression.”

How Did the Prototypes Improve Your Product?
“The prototypes from TTH helped to improve our presence at Maker Faire and we were awarded a Maker of Merit Blue Ribbon! Not only were the prototypes professional looking but they also helped us to learn from our initial design and identify where improvements could be made for our next iterations.”

Knockout prototype

Click HERE to visit Knockout Concept’s website to learn more about their product.

Every day TTH works with companies like Knockout Concepts in order to produce high quality parts under tight deadlines. Click HERE to see how additive manufacturing and 3D printing can streamline your product launch.

Keep Your Projects Running Day and Night

Posted on: December 19th, 2013 by The Technology House

Our Rapid Prototyping machines are automated, which allows us to build parts unattended. This is beneficial to you because machine efficiency is maximized in order to meet your tight deadlines as best as possible.  Parts can build at times when our office is closed, which includes nights, weekends, and even holidays.

Click here to see how our rapid prototype services can meet your needs.

Laser Rapid Prototyping

Formula SAE Car Utilizes Rapid Prototyping

Posted on: December 11th, 2013 by The Technology House

TTH partnered with the University of Akron’s Formula SAE racing team for their 2013 season.  The SAE racing team is composed of undergraduate students.  The students utilize their classroom knowledge to manufacture a prototype formula style racecar.  Just like in the real world, the team coordinates all the appropriate product functions such as: managing the racecar’s budget, production schedule, purchasing, design, testing, and manufacturing.

Car using rapid prototyping

Throughout this partnership, TTH 3D printed approximately 5 dozen parts through the SLA process, and some of the SLA’s were used as masters to create metal castings.  All of the printed and casted parts were used for the car’s intake manifold, heel rest, and clutch handle and mount.

Car using rapid prototyping

Additive manufacturing allowed the team to produce “one off” production at a faster rate than subtractive or formative manufacturing methods.  As a result, these rapid prototyping methods allow the team to produce intricate parts that allowed them to determine ways to reduce cost, reduce component weight, design check, and improve manufacturing efficiency.


Additive manufacturing allowed the team to fine tune their designs, which allowed the team to maximize the performance of their race car.  The team’s highest race finishes were:

3rd overall at Formula SAE Michigan
6th overall at Formula Student Germany
3rd overall at University of Toronto Shootout
8th at Formula Student Combustion-World Ranking

We congratulate the team on a successful 2013 season, and look forward to working with them for the 2014 season!

For more information about the team, please visit their facebook page:

Car using rapid prototyping

Project Breakdown: Tradeshow SLA’s

Posted on: December 4th, 2013 by The Technology House

Machines Used: 3D Systems SLA 500

Material Used: SL 7870 (Clear ABS)

Finish: Standard Finish

Industry: Architectural Models

An architectural model company contacted us to fabricate a model of a building.  This SLA prototype was to be used as a marketing tool for an upcoming trade show in Dubai.

SLA Architectural model

Our customer was under a tight deadline for this model.  The model was about 6 feet tall, and we had to run the parts in about 3 dozen sections.  The sections were run on multiple machines in order to speed up the lead time as much as possible.  We shipped some sections directly to the customer in the Middle East.  And our customer had their connecting flight stop in Cleveland so we could hand them the balance of the parts on a Saturday afternoon.  Our customer then caught their connecting flight that took them directly to the show with parts in hand.

All of this was done under tight deadlines.  It required an ample amount of open communication between the customer, the project manager, SLA technicians, and the operations department to ensure that each piece was done correctly within the 2 week deadline. But with the constant communication between all parties involved, the job was completed on time, and the customer was able to use the model as intended.

SLA prototype