Frequently asked questions
Is your print material proprietary?
No, we don’t lock you in to our own material, we use standard filament sizes of 1.75mm for GO and 3.0mm for KIT, so your options are open.
(Our material is really nice though, and we don’t mind if you use that too =P)
There will be some new types of material on the horizon also, as 3D printing gains momentum, so it makes sense to remain open in regards to filament.
Can the Portabee machines print with other materials, eg ABS?
So the GO will physically handle ABS, but this is a non-recommended material, and the warranty will be void for the GO machines with ABS.
The KIT will handle ABS more robustly than the GO, the 3mm filament and large extruder motor on the KIT make it better suited. We recommend the KIT for printing with ABS.
Things with ABS can be complicated however. There are some issues like printbed adhesion and de-lamination (the layers coming unstuck) to contend with that will take some experience to conquer. There are also fumes produced and adequate safety measures must be taken.
We highly recommend PLA, it is the simplest and most pleasant material to work with in our experience.
New, exciting, outlandish and interesting polymers are also on the horizon, but for now, PLA is our material of choice as the safest and easiest 3D printing material.
What about software? Software is really expensive right?
The current level of free, open source software available will let you achieve what cost thousands a few years ago.
Thanks open source, you are our hero.
Please visit the software page for more info and downloads.
Portabee is also working on a number of additions and plugins for various open source packages. Stay tuned.
I already use Solidworks, Maya or another 3D modelling package. Can I export from these programs?
Yes indeed, most programs will export to STL which is the usual format for 3D printing.
There is usually an STL export menu option to be found in common CAD programs, or there can be a plugin found in most cases.
A google search for “[your cad program here] STL export” will reveal your options.
WHAT CAN I MAKE
Can I print really complex models?
Yes indeed, complex models are best 3D printed.
Eg: You can print a giraffe, inside a giraffe (inside a giraffe).
Now, this being said, there are certain things such as overhangs which you must come to grips with. For example imagine you wish to print a woman with her arms outstretched to the side, if an area of the model has some feature ‘extending out into the void’ this will create a stringy mess. Support structures can be used to pad up this free area, and you can be very ingenious in your model design and work around these types of issues in a number of ways.
Most likely whatever you have in mind can be made, but you may have to persist and be creative along the way.