We’ve uncovered yet another Rapid Prototyping 3D Print service: AlphaPrototypes. This west coast USA-based firm provides a simple way to upload your .STL files and print high-quality 3D objects, shipped to you “in about 24 hours.” While they don’t identify the specific 3D printer being used, it is a ZCorp model – the favorite among current 3D print service providers. According to AlphaPrototypes FAQ:
Based on the patented FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printing process, the 3D printer builds functional 3D CAD models from the bottom up, one layer at a time, with durable ABS plastic to create rapid prototypes.
STL files are imported into the FDM Printing software which automatically plots a precise deposition path for the FDM Printer to follow. ABS plastic 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. Organic and complex geometric shapes and models can be easily and quickly created using FDM Printing.
They include the colors black, white, grey/silver, blue, green, and red, and “Other colors are available by special order.” Minimum order is US$149 for a single object not exceeding 3 cubic inches.
The service should suit many types of users, as the user-friendly website is well designed, taking you through each step in the process – and even offering assistance to novice users. However, you always should have your .STL files in good order before looking for any 3D print service.
In addition to FDM printing (Fused Deposition Modeling), the most common 3D printing technique of today, they also offer Stereolithography, Urethane casting and Injection molding options.