FAQs

How long will my order take?

Once your order is placed, it goes into our production queue. It can take one to two weeks for your designs to be made depending on the volume of orders we are processing. Shipping time depends on your location, but usually takes no longer than a week.

To be safe you should always order your designs at least three weeks before you need them.

If you want to arrange specific deadlines or would like to know more precisely when the product will be available, drop us an e-mail before placing the order.

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How much will it cost to make my design?

The cost is determined by the complexity of your design and the material type and thickness you’ve chosen.

The laser cuts materials at a range of speeds and as a rule it takes longer to cut thicker materials. The laser is also faster at cutting straight lines than it is at cutting curves. As a general rule of thumb, the more lines your design has, the more it will cost to make.

In your personal factory, when you add the materials to your designs, you’ll get an instant price for how much it will cost to make it. If you need to, you can then go back and refine your designs and upload them again. Check out design tips for advice on how to make your design more economical.

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What is ‘laser cutting’?

A laser cutter is a machine that uses a beam a light to cut or mark designs out of a flat sheet of material. Laser cutting is very precise. Computer generated files control the direction, speed, intensity and spread of the laser beam.

First, the laser cutter loads your file and programs itself to begin the cutting process. The laser beam passes through a focusing lens to increase its strength and create a high quality, finished edge. The beam itself measures around 0.2 mm which makes it possible to create intricate patterns and designs.

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Can I setup the laser cutter to achieve a special effect?

No, not at this stage.

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What materials can I use?

You can choose from the range listed in our materials catalog. We are expanding the materials catalog as we go along.

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Can I use my own/custom materials?

Yep! This is how.

  1. Make sure your sheets/plates are not bigger than 80x45cm
  2. Make sure you material can in fact be laser cut. If you don’t know the answer just post the question in our forum
  3. Upload your vector design, choose some material with consistency and thickness similar to the material you have. Place the order choosing to pay via bank transfer. Try and point out in the notes that your own material will have to be worked.
  4. Send us an email asking for the total price, materials excluded. Specify your order number and the kind of material you will be providing. We will write off the cost of the material minus 15€ for your own sheets/plates setup.
  5. Bring us your material or ship it with some courier to Vectorealism c/o Made in MaGe, viale Italia 548 Sesto San Giovanni, 20099 Milano
  6. Pay, either via a bank transfer of in cash when you get to our lab.
  7. Wait for a confirmation email, telling you when the product will be ready!

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What size restrictions are there?

Maximum working area is 813 x 457mm 32.01 x 17.99 in

There are 3 design templates per design package, used to make on our 3 material sheet sizes:

P1

181 x 181 mm 7.1 x 7.1 in

P2

384 x 384 mm 15.1 x 15.1 in

P3

790 x 384 mm 31.1 x 15.1 in

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Will there be burn marks on my lasered parts?

Yes, there may be some burn marks on some materials, such as timbers and fabrics – please check photos in our materials catalog. To remove them, you can lightly sandpaper them off. Plastics do not suffer from the same kind of burn marks.

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Can I use Google Sketch-Up to design things?

Yes, see how to use Sketch Up.

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What is 3D printing?

3d printing is a process that allows for the creation of some physical object identical to a tridimensional design. The object is created adding one layer upon the other, with a number of technologies. 3D printing is a technology for quick prototyping.

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How long will my order take?

Once placed, the order will be automatically included in our production queue. The making of your object can take approximately 1/2 weeks, depending on the number of orders being processed. Shipping takes 2/3 working days, but this very much depends on the destination. If you need to receive your object before some specific deadline please make sure you place the order at least 3 weeks in advance.

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How much will it cost to print my object in 3D?

Your price is computed as you upload your file. The price depends on a number of things:
– The volume of the object and the kind of material
– The actual quantity of material your object will be made of
– The total amount of material used for production
– The time the printer will need to make the object
– The time we humans will need for finishing and quality control

Volume and material used are the only parameters the pricing is based on. This is why hollow and solid objects can have the same price.

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What size restrictions are there?

Maximum size varies according to the materials you choose and the 3D printing technologies available for those materials. Check out the technical details of the material you decide to use to see how big your object can be.

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What software do you recommend using to model objects for 3D printing?

There is an array of free and opensource software for 3D modelling for 3D printing.
The one we like the most is Sketchup (which you can also use for laser cutting): the UI and its commands are really intuitive. Plus it’s got a huge library of free 3D models available for download.
Wings 3D is a free opensource software for modelling. It has a big community that provides support to its users. A section of the forum is devoted solely to modelling for 3D printing.
Another option is Blender, which is also free and opensource, but whose complex interface makes it a suitable choice for more skilled users only.

One more professional software is:
Rhino, very versatile and capable of directly exporting files as .stl, 3DS Max and Solidworks.

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How do I convert my 3D model to supported formats?

The best way to go is to export the 3D model directly in one of the supported formats (.stl, .obj, .dae, .skp) from within the software you used to create it. You can otherwise use Meshlab, a free software that converts different formats into one another.

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How can I export a 3D file from AutoCad 3D?

Using AutoCad we recommend exporting in .stl.
Make sure you are in “3D Modelling” mode
Click on the “Exit” tab on the top of your main window
Click on the “Send to 3D print service” button
Click on “Continue”
Check your preview before printing the file out. Press OK
You will be prompted a window in which you will be able to choose the format in which to save the file. Choose .stl

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Can I print colored objects?

You can indeed! Choose “Rainbow plaster”. This is a material printed with ZCorp printing technology. The 3D printer lays a compound somewhat akin to chalk, which is already colored in a range of 16 million colors. Using this technology internal parts of the object can be colored.

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How can I include colors and textures in the model I want to upload?

If you use the .obj format you will need to attach printing colors and textures for rainbow plaster in a .zip file, along with the model. In your upload page, just select .zip to get the pricing. Supported formats for textures are .jpg, .gif, .bmp, .png, .tiff, .xpm, .tga, .ico, .wmf, .pcx, .xbm.

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How can I draw objects with moving parts and joints?

3d printing is a process that allows for the creation of some physical object identical to a tridimensional design. The object is created adding one layer upon the other, with a number of technologies. 3D printing is a technology for quick prototyping.

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What is the maximum size for files for 3D printing?

Files cannot be bigger than 20MB.
Fixing resolution at a tenth of a millimeter, infinitesimal details i very detailed files might not be rendered by the 3D printer.

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Where can I download templates for 3D printing?

There exist various archives of tridimensional models. Be cautious though! It might be the case that these files have NOT been tested for 3D printing or that their specifics are different from the ones our printers work with.

Google 3D Warehouse
Turbosquid
123D di Autodesk (also for laser cutting)
Thingiverse (also for laser cutting)

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