3D Printing Technology

At ProtoCafe we have a full suite of technologies to ensure that we have the proper solution for your project. Below is a description of the main 3D printing technologies we utilize.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is a 3d printing process that extrudes material, layer by layer, to build a model. The material (a type of thermoplastic) is heated and extruded through the nozzle (like a miniature hot glue gun) onto a platform to create a two-dimensional cross section of the model. The cross section begins to solidify as the next layer is being extruded, as such the layers fuse together in this additive process.

Like scaffolding that is built alongside new construction projects, all 3d printers utilize a support material for cavities, undercuts, and overhangs. With the FDM, the support material is either dissolvable or manually broken away in the clean up process.

FDM can use thermoplastics such as:
  • ABS
  • ABS-M30
  • ABS-M30i
  • Polycarbonate (PC)
  • Many more

Objet/Polyjet is a jetting process that uses UV light to cure the different photopolymer materials available in this technology. Similar to the inkjet printing process on paper, this technology jets layers of a photopolymer (in a liquid state) onto the build envelope which is cured by the UV lights as it builds up.

The clean up process for the support material is quite laborious because it first involves manual removal (scraping) of the support material followed by water jetting to ensure the residue is eliminated.

Polyjet materials:

  • TangoBlack
  • TangoGray
  • TangoPlus
  • VeroClear
  • VeroBlue
  • VeroWhite
  • VeroBlack
  • Durus

Projet is another multijetting technology that builds extremely high resolution parts for two basic reasons:

  • The materials used in this process are incredibly stable and maintain their structural integrity even when subjected to heat in an oven to remove the support material.
  • The dual phase change that the material undergoes allows the equipment to actually layer in .0005” for incredibly smooth parts and crisp edges.

Often considered the pioneering technology in the 3d printing space, we house the latest SLA processes which build in fine resolution and with a number of thermoplastic-like materials.

As an SLA part builds, the platform is lowered into a vat of resin at such a precise level that the surface of the platform is covered with a layer-thickness of material. The laser beam then traces the outline of the model and cures a cross section wherever it touches the material. Once a layer is finished curing, the platform descends another layer, resin flows over the previous layer, and the process continues until the model is built.


  • ABS-like
  • Polypropylene-like
  • Polycarbonate-like
  • High impact strength
  • High temperature
  • Accura (Xtreme/Bluestone/PEAK/60/55/25)
  • Many more

Full Color 3D Printing is an additive manufacturing technology that allows us to build models with color embedded directly into the part as it is created.

The model material is spread over the build envelope, and after each layer is spread, a color binder is jetted onto the material in each pass. This binder causes the model material (which is originally white) to become colored with pigment and to harden instantaneously. The build envelope lowers with each pass as the 3d model is being built up.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) work by using a laser to sinter (heat and fuse) a variety of powdered materials. This process creates very durable and functional parts for industrial applications.


  • Duraform PA
  • Duraform EX
  • Duraform FR 100
  • Metals