LGM can help you prepare your files for 3D printing, take your CAD file and print it, or help you prepare and print your files. We are a for profit company and charge for our time, but we offer reduced rates for students. LGM has worked with students from top Universities including, Yale, Sci-Arc, University of Southern California, Emory, University of Pennsylvania, and Pratt Institute.
The model arrived and it looks beautiful. Everything is so great and I'm ecstatic. The color has not turned off white and I am so so pleased. This is my thesis project and I'm graduating in 16 days. I'm so proud to show off my model at the thesis presentation. You guys are the best!
Top 5 Issues Students Run In To
1) Not leaving enough time - especially for color prints
2) Assuming we understand your model enough to make subjective decisions
3) Walls that are too thin or surfaces that taper to nothing
4) Surface planes that do not explicitly define a space
5) High price due to large enclosed volumes of material
There are a number of things to think about when you are getting your model ready to 3D Print. Keep in mind you are creating a scaled model of a (planned) real world object. The model has to be able to exist in the real world where gravity and fingers both have great effect. The following links are intended to provide a primer on perparing your model for 3D Printing.
LGM will need to know the exact Size and Scale your model should be when printed.
Please make sure you are using appropriate Wall Thicknesses so that your model is strong enough for printing and handeling.
Thin tapered surfaces and sharp points should be altered before sending your files to LGM to ensure your model does not break.
Avoid areas that will encapsulate powder, or add holes so that the powder can be removed.
Reduce the mesh resolution if your CAD file is larger than 40mb.
What you can expect for Color, Images and Finish.
Information on exporting a model with Color or Texture Maps.
Great Rhino 5 Tutorial
Using the CADspan Calculator to find relevant thicknesses for: Freestanding Elements | Small Overhangs | Surface Relief
3D Printing Services
If you would like to send LGM a file to be printed, please read the following to ensure we can have the most productive conversation and produce the model that best serves you.
We currently run five powder/plaster based Z printers. We run three of them in white only and one in color. White is cheaper than color. Our other printers are not typically usefull for Student projects.
The build volumes on the Z Printer are 10" x 14" x 8" so that is the largest single part we can make. However it is easy to put multiple parts together.
For Monochrome parts, consider 72 hours to ship typical, 48 hours to ship M-F may be possible. Color sells out quickly and you should expect a week to process, print and package color parts. LGM processes, prints, and ships M-F, Saturday shipping is not typically possible and is an added expense if necessary. Sometimes machines fail to build or crash, or there maybe geometry issues. We want to have time to fix things so please do not wait until the last moment to send your file.
We price by the volume of material consumed and we try hard to optimize your geometry and get you the best pricing possible. Unless your geometry is perfect it is not possible to give an exact estimate until your model is nearly ready to run. Please do not send a work in progress file, we will likely only be able to give a very wild ballpark budgetary figure if the file is incomplete.It takes a baseline of labor to print and handle a part.
Our student pricing is 40% or more off our retail pricing for color printing. For many small, low volume parts, we may have to charge a base rate or a per part charge. Typically many small parts don't look that good in a model anyway, better to make an assembly and save yourself some work unless you think it will break. Also if you need to reduce costs, consider not printing the model base, terrain or large flat surfaces that are typically easier to build with a laser.
Our first priority is to package your model so that it gets to you in one piece. This typically means bubble wrap plus 2 inches of foam peanuts around the models. As a result, the shipping company will usually charge us for "dimensional weight" which means that they charge a minimum weight for a large light box based on the volume the box takes up in the truck/plane.
Express Shipping is EXPENSIVE. We are happy to do it, we make no money on shipping your model, all we do is click a button and it gets there faster, but you will have to foot the bill. Next day air early am can be 2x the cost of 2 day saver. Saturday delivery costs more, although not that much. There is no reasonable way to get something to you on a Sunday or a holiday, nor do shipping companies pick or move packages on Sundays or Holidays.
We will bill you when your model is complete or nearly complete. Payment is due upon receipt of the invoice and can be made online at https://www.lgmmodel.com/payments/ by credit card or bank transfer.
You can upload files Here or you can email files to firstname.lastname@example.org. For communication, please use email@example.com or text to 800-448-8808. We appreciate it if you communicate by email whenever possible. It helps our small staff to be more efficient. Please don't call to see if your upload came in, it did. Please DO let us know ahead of time if you have a class deadline. We would VERY much like to put these dates into our production planning system.
LGM specializes in Architectural file preperation and file fixing for our commercial clients. If you are pulling your hair out trying to get a file completely ready to print, we can help but if we do more than 10 minutes of preperation we have to charge for it.
Some things we can do really easily
- Hollowing - We have a routine for hollowing out parts to a specific wall thickness. Typically if you have one or two simple volumes that are well drawn, we won't charge to hollow them out. It helps us both. However, if you have many complex shapes and want us to spend a long time figuring out how to get every last cubic inch of powder out, we typically have to put more labor in than it is worth to get the powder out. You have to decide if you have more time than money and crunch on that.
- Global Offset - Our friends at Yale School of Architecture used to have a design class where they typically made very complex organic shapes like bridges or other space structures. Typically they were too thin all over. We can perform a fairly robust GLOBAL offset that thickens the entire part. This works well if the entire part is all of a similar level of detail. It does not work so well if there are some areas of high detail that you want to preserve and some areas that are less detailed. It is a GREAT trick for concept models.
- Slice a Plane Through Models - We have noticed that sometimes slicing a complex object with a plane creates more problems in Maya or Rhino. It works well in Magics. If you need us to slice an OTHERWISE GOOD model in two along a plane, then just draw the plane and we will the geometry However think through this first and visualize it. Make sure the model is really ready to be cut and that is the only problem you have.
Some things we do typically need to charge for
- Geometry fixing - Any good 3D printing service bureau should fix the basics, a small hole, a flipped face etc. However, as soon as someone has to start thinking "What is this supposed to look like," it gets expensive. While you have spent a tremendous amount of time with this design, we do not even know the design intent before opening the file.
- Creating "drain" holes to get un- printed powder out - See above...
- Shrinkwrapping - One trick we have for geometry out of Sketchup and other program is to run a Shrinkwrap. This is an idea we invented and it basically takes your geometry and "wraps" it with a virtual piece of saran wrap, creating a new printable, exterior mesh. It works exceptionally well for certain geometry. For more on Shrinkwrapping, how you can do it yourself and our FREE as well as paid software please see www.CADSpan.com
- Color Map Fixing and Modification - This is typically really tough for us to do on a student project budget or deadline.
- Lots of section planes or many shells that need hollowing.