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3D Printing Frequently Asked Questions

For when you don't know what you don't know


What the heck is additive manufacturing/3D printing/rapid prototyping?

Additive manufacturing, 3D printing, and rapid prototyping are different terms for a relatively new form of manufacturing. This process operates by cutting 3D CAD data into slices and building those, layer by layer, until an object is complete. This unique process does away with many of the design constraints of traditional manufacturing processes (e.g. draft or fillets) and can be cost effective for small, medium, and large batch sizes.


Seriously? That's awesome! What kind of materials does 3D printing use?

Composites, plastics, and metals are available. 3D printing materials advance monthly. At RapidMade™, we keep you updated on the best materials available; see our 3D Material & Technology page for our current selection. 


Cool! But how can it help me? Why should I use additive manufacturing?

Just ask the Fortune 500; they've been using it for years.

Digital fabrication is to manufacturing, what the internet is to communications. AM provides rapid turn-around times and the opportunity to create formerly impossible geometry.


Why should I use RapidMade™ instead of an online service bureau?

RapidMade™ takes the time to understand your project and optimize the benefits of 3D manufacturing. While others may simply upload your CAD file and print, we check the details first. You may have heard the phrase "junk in, junk out." We're not calling what you would design junk (heavens, no!), but our in-depth knowledge of pitfalls of design guidelines can help you through the process without time-consuming or expensive missteps.


What if I don't have any CAD files? How do I create a product without a design?

RapidMade offers engineering design and supply chain management services. We can accept anything from a napkin drawing to fully-dimensioned SolidWorks files.

If you're looking to modify a current part or product, we also make use of 3D scanning technology that digitizes a physical object, allowing it to be re-created in CAD software. This allows RapidMade™ to replicate a product you already know you want, or gives us a digital starting point for a product you would like to customize.


I don't know how to apply this to my business, should I still contact RapidMade™?

Absolutely! We're happy to answer any questions you may have. Let our expert team assist you in finding ways to utilize the technology. No pressure; we just love that sort of thing.