RP Glossary

All of the Rapid Prototyping terms you need to know...

  1. ABS

    ABS is a production-grade thermoplastic material. Parts created with ABS are ideal for realistic functional tests and concept models due to its high strength and durability. Stratasys Direct Express offers ABS material in multiple colors.

  2. Accuracy

    The amount of precision with which an additive manufacturing process can replicate a 3D CAD design. Standard tolerances for PolyJet and PolyJet HD are ± 0.005" or ± 0.001"/", whichever is greater. Standard tolerances for Stereolithography are ± 0.015" or ± 0.002"/", whichever is greater. Standard tolerances for Laser Sintering are ± 0.015" or ± 0.002 "/", whichever is greater. And standard tolerances for FDM ABS is ± 0.005".

  3. CAD (Computer Aided Design)

    A 3-dimensional design created from computer software that is used for additive manufacturing. Stratasys Direct Express uses 3D CAD designs in the form of STL files to create parts and models.

  4. FDM

    FDM is a layer additive manufacturing process that uses production-grade thermoplastic materials to produce both prototype and end-use parts. Unlike other additive processes, FDM uses thin thread-like spools of material to create each layer in a process very similar to that of a hot glue gun. FDM is known to accurately produce feature details.

  5. Layer Thickness

    The height of a single layer built with an additive manufacturing process. Thinner layers equate to better accuracy and raw surface finish. Larger layers increase the visibility of "stair stepping" on sloped surfaces. Layer thickness is not equivalent to accuracy.

  6. Master Pattern

    A prototype or object used as a master model to create replica parts with another technology, such as Urethane Casting. PolyJet White, PolyJet HD Blue and SLA White are suitable technologies for creating master patterns due to their accuracy.

  7. Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

    A legal contract to keep material or information confidential. Stratasys Direct Express is committed to protecting the privacy of all its customers and will not release customer information or material without prior customer consent. If your project requires a signed NDA, please contact us at directexpresssupport@stratasysdirect.com.

  8. Optimum Part Size

    General dimensions for parts that are best suited for a particular technology. See product summary chart for more information.

  9. PolyJet

    A layer additive manufacturing technology used to create physical parts from CAD geometry. PolyJet is best suited for small prototypes (typically half a shoebox or less in size) or models requiring excellent fine feature detail and accuracy.

  10. Laser Sintering (LS or SLS)

    A layer additive technology used to create rapid prototypes from 3D computer geometry. With SLS technology, a UV laser is used to sinter (heat and fuse) powdered Nylon 11 and Nylon 12 polyamide materials to create durable physical parts. SLS produces rugged, lightweight parts excellent for tough prototypes.

  11. Stereolithography (SL or SLA)

    An additive manufacturing process used to create physical parts and models from a general prototyping plastic. With SLA, parts can be produced from CAD designs in a number of hours. SLA technology is a cost effective way to develop a small quantity of parts in the early stages of the product design process.

  12. STL File

    A specific file format for CAD geometries that is required for Stratasys Direct Express. The STL format is frequently used in the rapid prototyping and manufacturing industry and is available in most of the main CAD design programs.

  13. Unfinished (None)

    Unfinished refers to the raw surface finish of a part produced directly by the prototyping machine. Stratasys Direct Express will always remove excess material and supports but will not apply any post finishing processes (no hand sanding or paint). Some stair stepping or layer lines may be visible as they are naturally produced by these technologies.

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