FAQ's Frequently Asked Questions.

A selection of FAQ's aimed at clients new to 3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping.

Our FAQ Section is at an early stage in it's development so if you have any suggestions or comments,  we'd love to hear from you.

Simply click on the question to jump to the answer further down the page.


Glossary - SLA - Stereo Lithography.

A rapid prototyping technology where a liquid resin is cured using a laser to form the final part. SLA systems cost in the region of 500,000 putting the technology out of reach of most small business.

Glossary - DMLS / SLM - Metal Additive Manufacturing

DMLS or SLM is the process used to 3d print designs in metal. It's a laser / powder based system similar to SLS, but the parts are attached to the build platform.

Glossary - FDM - Fused Deposition Modelling.

A rapid prototyping / 3D printing technology where material is extruded from nozzles to form layers, which are built up to form the final part.

Glossary - Polyjet Technology

The 3D printing technology developed by Objet offering high resolution and smooth surface finish. The technology simulates all the best qualities of an SLA (Sterolithography) part and gives layers from 30 micron to 16 micron allowing for fine detail.

Glossary - SLS - Selective Laser Sintering

A rapid prototyping technology where a powder is melted using a laser to form the item.

Glossary - STL File

.STL files are the preferred input file for most Rapid Prototyping and 3D printing systems. The file describes a given part as a series of very small triangles.

Service - How do I get a quote ?

All 3D printing jobs are different so we'll need to review the .STL file for your part to be able to quote. Email us your .STL file or use the 'Get a Quote' button, and note any specific requirements and we'll get back to you with a quote. We aim to quote within a couple of hours of receiving your .STL file.

Service - How long will it take to produce my part ?

Our typical turnaround is between 2 and 4 working days for our Strong & Durable service in ABS. Next Day delivery is sometimes possible depending on the build time for your design. Other services are typically 4 to 7 working days depending on work load. We are flexible and will try and work to your deadlines, so let us know what you need and we'll try and help.

Service - Where are 3D-Alchemy ?

We are based in Shropshire, close to the 'new' town of Telford. Our 3D printing service serves companies across the UK via overnight carriers. Local companies based in Telford, Wolverhampton and the West Midlands find us especially convenient.

Service - I'm not in the UK. Do we delivery to the rest of the world.

Yes. Let us know where you are and we can confirm the delivery price.

Service - NDAs (Non Disclosure Agreements)

We're happy to sign your NDA, please call to discuss.

Software - Where can I get .STL file viewing software ?

There are several free downloads to allow you to view .STL files. Some tools give you limited editing and fixing abilities. A web search for MiniMagics and Nettfabb will turn up some options.

Software - Where can I get 3D design software ?

There is a wide selection of 3D software tools available via a web search, from paid for professional solutions to free open source downloads. Netfabb stl viewer is a free download. We've covered a lot of the popular free CAD software downloads in our Blog section.

Tech - Accuracy ?

In general terms you can expect an accuracy for +/- 0.2mm per 100mm for all 3d printing processes depending on your design and the optimum build orientation. Minimum recommended wall thickness and feature detail are usually around 0.5mm to 1mm depending on the material and process selected.

Tech - Can I choose a material with specific physical properties ?

Yes. We 3D print and produce Rapid Prototypes in a range of materials. Please see the 'Materials' page for more information.

Tech - Can I have different colours ?

Yes, depending on the material. Our default colour is 'Ivory White' ABS, on our Strong & Durable service, and a translucent yellow for our Fine Detail Service. Rubber Like parts are generally 3d printed in Black.

Tech - Can my 3d printed parts be painted or glued ?

Yes. Generally your parts can be painted, please see the Blog section for details.

Tech - How big can my part be ?

The maximum size of a part depends on the material & process you select. The 'Fine Detail' 3d printing service gives parts up to 500 x 400 x 200mm. 'Strong and Durable' parts can be 406 x 355 x 406mm and we have options upto around 700mm in SLS Nylon. Aluminium parts can be up to 400mm long. Parts larger than this can be produced in smaller sections and joined.

Tech - How can I use 3D printing and Rapid Prototyping ?

Current applications for 3D printing includes Design Verification, Fit and Assembly testing, Conceptual Modelling, Rapid Tooling, Jig and Fixture validation. In addition our clients are using the technology to support Sales & marketing activities as well as private individuals producing 1 off personalized items.

Tech - Will my design be produced with a smooth surface finish ?

Our 'Fine Detail' 3d printing service gives you parts with a smooth surface finish, printed at 28 micron. Our lower cost Strong and Durable service in ABS also gives a nice, lightly textured, finish.

Tech - X, Y and Z Axis

You may come across references to X, Y and Z axis. X and Y refer to the horizontal plane while Z describes the vertical plane.

The End..

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3d-alchemy - Get a 3d printing quote

Find just the right material for your project with our Materials Wizard.

Materials Wizard


Example objects printed with our 3d printing services:

3d printing service - example of work.
Metal 3d printing service - example of work.


What our customers say about our 3d printing service

"We have just received the two components with the text and they are great, thank you very much for taking the time and effort to get this right for us, I really appreciate the lengths you have gone to and will recommend your services at every opportunity."

Terrance, Classic Motorcycle Restoration.

What our customers say about our 3d printing service

"The first one arrived in the post and it's brilliant! Thank you so much - we really appreciate the speed as well. An excellent service all round! :) "

Brooke, 3D modeller.



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