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FAQ about Rapid Prototyping


For additional help, please call Sierra College CACT at (916) 660-7801.

Why does Sierra College CACT offer this service?
CACT provides manufacturers with technical assistance, technology transfer and workforce development. The Rapid Prototyping Service supports the goal of enhancing the competitiveness of manufacturing and technology companies in California and attracting students into technical fields. The CACT is an initiative of the California Community College's Economic and Workforce Development Program. Keep in mind that is not a quick turn-around, high production shop but rather a college service to help growing local companies that are not on a tight schedule. Sierra College CACT can also refer you to production shops offering rapid prototyping services that can be delivered more quickly

What is Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid Prototyping (RP) is the ability to generate three-dimensional models that need no machining or tooling. RP adds material layer by layer until the desire shape is achieved, instead of cutting away material by machining.

What are the benefits of Rapid Prototyping?
RP generates 3D models quickly and accurately, greatly reducing the amount of time, money and redesign delays of product development. Perfect working models can be produced directly from your digital data in hours instead of days.

How big can the model be?
Sierra College CACT has two Rapid Prototype machines, one can build parts up to 8 x 8 x12” and the other is 10 x 10x 12”.

What is it made of?
Dimension builds functional 3D models from the bottom up, one layer at a time of with tough, durable acrylnitrile butadene styrene (ABS) plastic.

How durable is ABS plastic?
Unlike appearance prototypes produced in weak materials, Dimension parts built in ABS have been used for functional and field tests - from wind tunnel testing to camera mounts on a M1A Bradley tank and a spray gun running at 60 psi.

Depending on the part geometry, you can obtain from 60 to 75% of the strength of molded ABS plastic.

WARNING: It is not recommended to use any plastic prototype in a situation where the safety of any individual is jeopardized by the mechanical properties of the material.

What colors are available?
White is standard. Special colors (blue, green, red, yellow, black & gray) are available, but a $250 materials purchase fee is required for special orders. You can paint your white ABS parts with compatible paints - modeling or hobbyist stores will have a good supply of colors.

How is support material removed?
The dimension printer uses a Soluble Support Technology (SST) which dissolves in a water solution or a Breakaway Support Technology (BST) which is removed manually.

How much does it cost?
The fee is $10 per cubic inch of material plus a $100 lab fee per build plate. Multiple parts may fit on the build plate.  All of the proceeds pay for lab material costs and continuing workforce development programs. Parts can be picked up, or shipped to you at additional cost.

How do I get an estimate?
Go to Request an estimate for Rapid Prototyping Services

How do I pay?
You may pay by cash, check or credit card. Before your order can be processed, you must sign your approval of the estimate.

What machines do you use?
The Dimension BST and SST 3D printers use durable ABS plastic that can be sanded, milled, drilled, painted and even electro-plated.

Dimension BST 768
8 x 8 x 12" Build Size
203 x 203 x 305 mm

Dimension SST 1200
10 x 10 x 12" Build Size
254 x 254 x 305 mm

How does the Dimension process work?
Based on the patented Stratasys Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)® process, Dimension builds functional 3D models from the bottom up, one layer at a time of with tough, durable acrylnitrile butadene styrene (ABS) plastic.

STL files are imported into Catalyst™ software which automatically slices and orients the parts and creates any necessary support structures. The software automatically plots a precise deposition path for Dimension to follow.

ABS plastic (in filament form within auto-loading cartridges) is fed into an extrusion head, heated to a semi-liquid state and accurately deposited in layers as fine as 0.010-inch (0.254 mm) thick. After completion of the build, support structures are simply removed.

ABS plastic is heated to a semi-liquid state and deposited in
thin layers by a patented extrusion head.

How does 3D Printing fit into the design process?
For a growing segment of designers that depend on 3D solid CAD, the Dimension 3D Printer is quickly becoming an essential extension of their overall CAD system and a critical part of the entire design process.

Accelerating Time to Market - shorten design and development cycles and ultimately get products to market more quickly by enabling users to easily fine tune design and explore multiple design iterations.

Generating Bottom-Line Savings – enable a highly collaborative and efficient design process by significantly lowering production costs, reducing expensive revisions late in the development cycle and ensuring products' gross profit potential.

Enhancing Communication and Collaboration – Turn ideas into functional 3D models that can be easily shared, critiqued and improved. Designers can easily communicate a design's true features to key audiences, including management, marketing, vendors and customers.

Creating Better Designs – Increase the number of 3D models you can produce and test, and benefit from more creative designs and better final products.

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Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies and Economic and Workforce Development
(916) 660-7801
Sierra College Training & Development
Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT)
  Placer, Nevada and parts of El Dorado and Sacramento Counties
Rocklin - Roseville Auburn Truckee Nevada City Grass Valley
Sierra College site: www.sierracollege.edu  -  Copyright 2014 Sierra College All rights reserved.
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