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Frequently Asked Questions

About 3T

What does “3T RPD” stand for?

The company name is derived from the disciplines in which it operates … Technology; Techniques; Training (ie. 3T) and the market it supports; Rapid Product Development (ie. RPD) … hence, 3T RPD!

What is 3T’s AM capability?

We have some of the world’s largest and most technologically advanced laser sintering machines, offering high performance, reliability and repeatability.  Our plastic machines produce parts via Selective Laser Sintering technology, and likewise our metal machines build parts using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (also known as Direct Metal Laser Melting).  They can rapidly translate 3D CAD data into parts with excellent detail resolution and quality in just hours and days without the need for any tooling, compared to days and weeks using subtractive manufacturing methods.  We can produce anything from a one-off rapid prototype part, to production runs of hundreds, or even thousands, of components (often referred to as Rapid Manufacturing).

Design & Manufacture

What is 3D Printing?

3D Printing is the latest ‘buzz’ word in the industry used to describe the rapid manufacture of plastic or metal parts using powder bed fusion techniques.  These layer based manufacturing processes are also referred to as Additive Manufacturing (AM), Industrial 3D Printing, Rapid PrototypingAdditive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) and 3D modelling.  Produced directly from 3D CAD data, complexity of design and geometry becomes more achievable enabling designers to create parts in new ways, combining many parts into one and incorporating complex internal structures.  To find out more about our 3D printing service, visit our plastic 3D Printing and metal 3D printing pages.

What type of file can I upload?

We can accept the following formats both online and when sending us files directly: ACIS (*.sat), Inventor (*.ipt), CATIA V4 & V5 (*.model & *.catpart), Creo (*.prt), IGES, OBJ, Parasolid (*.x_t), Pro/Engineer (*.prt), Rhino (*.3dm), Siemens NX (*.prt), Solid Edge (*.par), SolidWorks (*.sldprt), STEP, STL

Is there a maximum file size?

We can accept files up to 50MB via email, although your email provider might have their own outgoing email limits. Our online Request a Quote service has an upload limit of 10MB, while our online ordering system for plastics allows files up to 50MB to be uploaded. If your file is larger than this, please get in touch and we can advise how to create a smaller file or offer a different method to get your data to us.

Which is the best software program to use for 3D design?

Our team use Solidworks for design work, and Magics (by Materialise) for STL file manipulation and build setup. Most 3D modelling software is however capable of creating files for 3D printing, but try to avoid software which is unable to export files in STL format.

What materials can my AM parts be made in?

Plastic AM parts are available in Nylon 12, Flame Retardant Nylon 12, Glass Filled Nylon 12 and Tough Black.   Metal AM parts are available in a range of materials, including Aluminium, Cobalt Chrome, Stainless Steel and Titanium.  Visit our Plastic AM Materials and Metal AM Materials pages for full technical specifications.

Do you produce parts in metal?

Yes, however due to the more complex nature of the process, it is not possible to order this directly using our online ordering system. If you have a project requiring our metal AM services, please get in touch.

What is the smallest or largest size?

Currently the portal is only able to work with plastic orders. The smallest part we can build in plastics is 10mm x 10mm x 10mm, while our largest part in a single piece is 350mm x 550mm x 680mm. Due to the inherently complex nature of these larger parts however, the maximum sized part which can be ordered online is 330mm x 330mm x 300mm.

Can I get my parts coloured or finished?

Your plastic AM parts can either be supplied in their raw state, ie. white, or we can produce it with a permanent surface colouring from a standard range of colours.  Full details are available on our Plastic AM Finishes page. We can also offer a smoothing process to reduce the surface roughness of your parts. Details of this can be found here.

What happens if you can’t make my part?

When ordering online, we do our best to check your parts for any issues which would prevent manufacture. If once you have ordered however, and a member of our team deem your part to be unbuildable, you will be contacted immediately. If the issue is down to file quality, in some cases this can be rectified internally, but this may incur an extra charge. If the issues cannot be rectified, a full refund will be offered, as laid out in our Terms and Conditions. When ordering with a member of the team, all checks to parts will be completed during the quoting phase and discussed with you prior to any orders being placed.

Where can I find your design guides?

We have a quick guide to plastic AM available here, this should guide you through the basics of designing for the process. If you have any further questions or require information on designing for the metals AM process, please get in touch.

Can I view my part once it has been uploaded?

If you are using our new online ordering system for plastics, you have the opportunity to view your part once it has been uploaded. Please use this tool to ensure the part is how you expect. If you are using our request a quote form, and you have any concerns about how your file may have exported please get in touch and one of the team can go through the file we receive with you.

Can you design my part?

3T offer a full range of design services, for more information please get in touch with our team so we can discuss your requirements.

Order Process & Payment

When do I pay?

When using our new online ordering platform, payment is required at the time of order, using a credit or debit card. Orders made directly with our team require payment prior to the products shipping, unless an account is held with 3T. For more information please see our guide to doing business.

Will I get an order or payment confirmation?

Our new online ordering platform automatically generates an order confirmation, which you will receive via email once payment has been successful. Once our internal team have planned your order onto our machines, another email will be sent with an accurate delivery schedule. If ordering directly with our a member of our team, an Order Acknowledgement will be sent out once the order has been processed and is planned into our machines.

What payment methods are available?

Payments by Visa and MasterCard are accepted both online and directly with us, while BACS and Cheque are also available when ordering with our team. It is also possible to set up a payment account with 3T, if you wish to do so please contact us.

Which currencies are available?

Online, all orders are calculated in British Pounds (GBP). If ordering directly with our team, it is possible to generate orders in Euros (EUR) and US Dollars (USD) as well.

What is the delivery time?

Delivery is dependent on your order’s requirements. We aim to ship all online orders within 8 working days, however you will be advised of a more accurate shipment date once we have received the order. If ordering directly with our team, they will be able to give more accurate lead times throughout the quote and order stages.

Is there an option to get my part faster?

In some cases, it is possible to ‘Fast Track’ orders, dispatching them within 48 hours. In order to achieve this, there is a maximum part size of 300mm x 300mm x 250mm. This ensures the machine finishes in time, and the parts have enough time to cool down and be processed by our workshop team. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about our Fast Track service, please get in touch.

Can I collect my parts from 3T?

It is possible to collect your parts from us directly. If you wish to do so, please get in touch with us to discuss your requirements.

Can you ship outside the UK?

We are able to ship parts anywhere in the world, however our online ordering service currently only accepts orders shipping to the UK. If you have a requirement to have your parts shipped outside of the UK, please get in touch.

Can I track my order?

Currently tracking is not available for orders. You will receive notifications when orders have been planned into our systems in the form of an Order Acknowledgement, as well as a notification when your order is despatched.

How do I cancel my order?

In some circumstances we are able to cancel orders, however in agreement with our Terms, cancellations need to be made prior to any production happening here at 3T.

What should I do if there is an issue with my order?

If you have any question regarding your order, please contact us directly and one of our team will be happy to assist you.

General Questions

How can I contact 3T?

3T can be contacted via our online contact forms, by email or telephone. Please visit our contact us page for more information.

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