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We are the 3D printing arm of a larger company called Express Group Ltd. Fixing printers since 1988, today we are a Specialist Parts Distributor and Experts in 3D Printing.
We take quality control very seriously, which is why we are audited for ISO9001:2008 certification, this helps ensure we provide great customer service.
3D printing is a catch all term referring to a range of different additive manufacturing technologies. Essentially it means the construction of an item from a digital 3D file. Typically it is built up in layers, and the most common 3D printing technology is called Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF). There are a number of different technologies, but they tend to fit into one of the following types:
FFF is the most common 3D printing technology, there are a lot of different manufacturers of the FFF technology 3D printers. Typically these 3D printers use ABS, PLA and a number of other materials.
Nearly all of the 3D printers aimed at the consumer market are likely to be based on FFF technology. This is because of public access to the RepRap project means anyone can create their own 3D printer.
Essentially a filament of a particular material is fed through a tube into a heated extruder, this then melts the material and it is then extruded in small dots, often at layers of around 100 microns or 0.1mm. The 3D printer then builds these up over time, if there are overhangs (for example an archway) then support material has to be used.
FFF is ideal for cheap and quick prototyping of very simple parts.
Stereolithography is ideal for doing small, intricate items. There are many applications of SLA, for example: prototyping, dentistry and jewellery.
SLA works by often using a resin and a light to cure the resin. Rather than building up from the bottom, like in FFF, Stereolithography pulls up out of a bed of resin, with the light curing each layer of resin as it goes.