Knowledge Base | FAQs

Q: How large of a part can be made?
A: Most parts can be sectioned and built to any size. However for single piece parts built whole; FDM parts can be built as large as 36″ x 24″ x 36″ (914mm x 610mm x 914mm), Polyjet as large as 19″ x 14″ x 8″, SLA as large as 25″ x 29″ x 21″, SLS as large as 22″ x 22″ x 18″ and MJM HR as large as 7″ x 5″ x 2″.

Q: How quickly can I receive my parts?
A: Most orders are shipped in 1 to 2 days (often same day), however large parts and assemblies may require more time.

Q: Is there a guarantee on the parts you build?
A: Yes, C.ideas stands behind the services we offer, if for any reason you are unhappy with the parts you receive, contact us immediately so we can make it right.

Q: Can I paint or use my parts as mold masters?
A: Most of the processes we offer can be painted, in turn, used as mold masters. For RTV molds (may require shrink) we recommend Polyjet or SLA, for thermoforming molds we recommend FDM. Use our process selector guide or call 847-639-1000 847-639-1000 FREE, to find the most ideal process for your needs.

Q: I only have a 2D drawing can you convert it into 3D for me?
A: This is a fairly common request & we can handle it in one of two ways. If you send us your 2D design with dimensions, we can create the CAD work for you, at a fixed hourly rate. For more complex programs, we can recommend one of the many competent designers and engineers we have worked with over the years, in hope that we have the opportunity to produce the parts, once you reach that stage.

Q: Do you have same day service?
A: Yes, many of our customer send us parts in the morning and pick them up, or have them messengered that afternoon. This service is only available in the Chicagoland and southern Wisconsin area and may be subject to part size.

Q: Do you charge; part minimums, holiday or weekend rates?
A: Since 1998 C.ideas prides itself on having no minimum, rush or weekend charges.It is not uncommon to have parts ship from our facility for less than $10.

Q: Which process is the best?
A: Every process has its strengths and weaknesses and unfortunately, the best process for one project may actually be the worst for the next. It should come to no surprise that, this is one of the most common questions we receive, in fact, we recently created the Process selector guide to help engineers and designers help narrow down their possible choices. Otherwise please call one of our project managers at 847-639-1000 847-639-1000 FREE to help you in the right direction.

Q: Can C.ideas color match a part or add texture?
A: If you choose a 3D printing process, most parts can be painted to match a specific paint chip or PMS (Pantone) color. Urethane castings can be molded in a matched color or painted to match a specific metallic.

Q: Do you sell to international customers?
A: Yes, we have customers all over, such as; Australia, Jamaica, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Israel, Poland & many others. Feel free to call or email us if you are concerned about your location.

Q: What file format do you need?
A: STL is preferred, however, we utilize Solidworks 2012 in-house and can accept legacy Solidworks files. Other formats we can import are; IGES, Step, Parasolid (binary recommended) & SAT. Look at our file requirements section or call us at 847-639-1000 847-639-1000 FREE for information on files not listed here.

Q: What is the recommended minimum wall thickness?
A: Typically .040″ is the recommended minimum for most processes. However FDM (High-res) and SLA can have features as small as .020″. MJM or Polyjet, parts with non load bearing walls built flat, can be as little as .010″. The key is realizing that features under .020″ cannot be guaranteed to show up.

Q: What resolution do you build your Polyjet parts in?
A: The Polyjet process has gained a great deal of acceptance in the 3D printing world as a fast method of achieving highly detailed parts. Many of our competitors choose to run their machines in the High Speed mode (low resolution mode) in order to reduce the amount of material used and push more parts through their door. At C.ideas, we only operate our Polyjet machines in the highest resolution settings. Although it costs us more to operate, the parts are much smoother (less gritty), more accurate with much better fine feature details. If you are shopping around, always ask what resolution is being quoted.

Q: Can you build assemblies whole?
A: Yes a few of the processes we offer such as; FDM ABS, MJM and SLS can build full assemblies. This is due to the support material being easy to separate from the part. FDM allows us to use soluble support, MJM wax supports are melted out and SLS excess powder is blown off the parts upon completion.

Q: Is there a discount for quantities?
A: Yes, the number of parts and overall size of the project can decrease the per part price. Also, when used in DDM (Direct Digital Manufacturing) applications.

Q: We have a very tight deadline and budget can you work with this?
A: The advantage of working with C.ideas is that we are not a oversized corporation with a fixed MSRP. Our down home approach & policies enable us to be flexible. We work with budgets of all sizes and the project manager assigned to you will always make your individual needs, lead time, and budget their first priority.

Q: Why don’t you provide an instant quote?
A: Pricing and lead times can be subject to part geometry, but quality is a direct result of proper process selection, orientation & good data. On many occasions our project managers actually catch an error in the CAD file (which would have lost “you” time and money), these are things that would normally be unnoticed with an algorithm based system. Real lead times, communication, proper build styles and orientation are far superior to any online quoting system.

Q: What compression methods do you recommend for sending files via email?
A: If emailing or attaching files we always recommend compressing the files with Win ZIP, Win RAR or MGX, these are all supported by C.ideas.