Table of Contents:
- 3D Printing
- Laser Cutting
- Printed Circuit Board (PCB)
What is Low Fidelity printing?
Low Fidelity machines offer a quick and low-cost way to test the functionality of your ideas. All are FDM-style machines that extrude plastic filament through a heated nozzle to build the part layer by layer. The primary material is PLA, but can also use ABS, PETG, TPU, Nylon, etc.
What Low Fidelity machines are available?
The Fischer EDC has various Low Fidelity machines available for prototyping. A list of these machines can be seen below:
- Dremel 3D45
- Ultimaker S5
- Ultimaker 3
- Ultimaker 2+
- Essentium HSE 180-S
What is High Fidelity printing?
High Fidelity machines can produce fully finished and functional parts ready for use. FDM-style machines extrude plastic filament through a heated nozzle to build the part layer by layer. Materials available are PLA, ABS, ASA, PC-ABS, Nylon 12, ULTEM 9085.
What High Fidelity machines are available?
The Fischer EDC has one High Fidelity machines available for prototyping. A list of these machines can be seen below:
- Stratasys F370
What is Polyjet printing?
These machines spray micro-droplets of photopolymers that are cured with UV light to build the part layer by layer. Materials available are the full acrylic-like VeroColor suite, Clear, Amber, and rubber-like Agilus30.
What Polyjet machines are available?
The Fischer EDC has one Polyjet machines available for prototyping. A list of these machines can be seen below:
- Stratasys J750
What is SLA printing?
These machines cure the resin with a light/laser beam to build the part layer by layer. Materials available are Grey and Clear, with different engineering-grade materials to be made available upon need.
What SLA machines are available?
The Fischer EDC has one type of machine available for prototyping which is the Formlabs Form 2.
What is BMD printing?
These machines create green parts similar to FDM that are then subject to further chemical and thermal processing. Material available is 17-4PH stainless steel.
What BMD machines are available?
The Fischer EDC has various BMD machines available for prototyping. A list of these machines can be seen below:
- Desktop Metal Studio System Printer
- Desktop Metal Studio System Debinder
- Desktop Metal Studio System Furnace
Service Request – 3D Printing
My file is too big to upload into the FEDC Service Request 3D printing form. What do I do?
In most cases, you will need to adjust the resolution of your part as it is converted to a .stl format. In SolidWorks, this can be done by choosing Save As, select STL as the file type, then clicking the “Options” button below. Then you can adjust the Resolution Deviation and Angle to yield an acceptable part file that is not too big to upload.
For some High Fidelity 3D printing requests, a larger file size (or even different file type) may be required to yield an accurate part. In this case, please email email@example.com for specific instructions. Be sure to include whether it is an Academic or Research project, printing/material needs, and anything else that may help us to help you.
What is laser cutting and how does it work?
Laser cutting and engraving is a process where a CNC laser is moved in the X-Y plane to cut or engrave a material. Because there is no Z movement, laser cutters cannot create blind holes or slots – they can either engrave just the surface or cut all the way through a given material.
Material properties and laser power affect how thick a piece of material can be cut. Also affected are the width and angle of the kerf created by the laser cut: thicker and lower-melting-temperature materials will have larger and more obtuse kerfs.
For the FEDC, you must provide your own material for us to cut/engrave. There is no charge for general academic laser cutting services to COE undergraduates. Service Center requests for research will be charged labor fees.
What laser cutting machine are available?
The Fischer EDC has two types of laser cutters the VLS 3.60 BY UNIVERSAL LASER SYSTEMS and the ILS 9.75 BY UNIVERSAL LASER SYSTEMS.
VLS 3.60 by Universal Laser Systems
Build Area: 24×12 in
Max Rotary Capacity: 8 in diameter
Laser Power: 60 W
ILS 9.75 by Universal Laser Systems
Build Area: 36×24 in
Max Rotary Capacity: 10.25 in diameter
Laser Power: 75 W
What materials can be cut at the Fischer EDC?
The following materials below can be cut on the laser cutter at the Fischer EDC:
- Plywood/Composite woods
- MDF/Engineered woods
- Paper/Card Stock
- Cardboard (may catch fire)
- Thin Polycarbonate <1 mm (might discolor or smoke/burn)
- Kepton tape
- Solid Styrene
- Depron foam
- Gator foam
- Cloth/felt/hemp/cotton (no plastic coatings)
- Leather/Suede (real leather only)
- Magnetic Sheet
- Non-chlorine rubber
- Carbon fiber (non-epoxy)
What materials CANNOT be cut at the Fischer EDC?
The following materials below CANNOT be cut on the laser cutter at the Fischer EDC:
- PVC (emits pure chlorine gas)
- Thick polycarbonate >1 mm (catches fire)
- ABS (emits cyanide gas)
- HDPE/milk bottle plastic (catches fire)
- Polystyrene Foam (catches fire)
- Polypropylene Foam (catches fire)
- Fiberglass (creates fumes)
- Coated Carbon Fiber (creates fumes)
What materials can be etched (not cut) at the Fischer EDC?
The following materials below can be etched (not cut) on the laser cutter at the Fischer EDC:
- Ceramic Tile
- Anodized aluminum
- Painted/coated metals
What template should I use to submit a laser cutting request
One is available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GJ3cRhpSKyCq9KGJ64OMQWvSpn0e3Vjf/view
Also, you can create your own in AutoCAD. Create the profile of your pre-cut material – be sure that it will fit in one of our lasers (a good practice is to use 11.75” x 23.75” or 23.75” x 35.75” for the machine size). Fit the parts you want to be cut into your material –straight edges can be shared. The laser software uses color to determine whether to cut or engrave. Use Red for cutting, and Blue for engraving. Be sure that for all line properties, you select “ByLayer”.
How to obtain a proper file to submit a laser cutting request?
For parts drawn in AutoCAD, save as a .DWG or a .DXF. For parts created in 3D software, save as a .DWG or a .DXF, but pay special attention to the saving options, particularly the saved view and units/scaling.
For example, a SolidWorks part can easily be saved as a .DXF file. Just be certain to check the preview to ensure you have selected the correct view.
Three dimensional parts
Many people enjoy creating 3D objects using laser cutting. This can be done in several ways:
- Slicing: Much like 3D printing, your part can be sliced at your material thickness. Then profiles can be cut out and glued together.
- Boxes/Shelves: Simple 5-sided to complex multi-hinged and angled boxes can be made using laser cutting. Designs can be assembled in 3D CAD programs and then exploded drawings used to cut the parts, or they can be drawn directly in 2D CAD-like AutoCAD. For better assembly, crenellations are often used to provide a greater surface area for glue/epoxy and also help to hold the part together. There are many websites that will get you started with these designs such as:
- Anything: If you can design it to be made from two-dimensional pieces, we can cut the pieces! We have seen clothing, 3D puzzles, furniture, art, and more.
Printed Circuit Board (PCB)
What is a PCB?
A printed circuit board or PCB is a device that is used to mount and connect multiple electronic
components together with the use of traces, pads or other connection methods. A PCB is made
using layers of copper that’s laminated onto layers of a non-conductive substrate (fiberglass for
What types of copper panels do you offer?
At the FEDC you can choose between the following copper panels depending on the
specification of your circuit:
- 1 Oz Single Sided FR4 Panel
- 0.5 Oz Flexible(Thin) Double Sided FR4 Panel
- 0.5 Oz Double Sided FR4 Panel
- 1.0 Oz Double Sided FR4 Panel
- 2.0 Oz Double Sided FR4 Panel
Can I bring my own copper panel to manufacture my PCB?
You may choose to provide your own copper panel to make your PCB(s) but you must consult
with a technician before submitting your material and PCB request.
What machines do you use to create PCBs?
S103 Protomat by LPKF
Max Panel Size and layout area (X/Y/Z): 12 X 9 X 1.4/0.9 in
Holds up to 15 tools (Tool list below)
Max resolution: 0.5 μm (0.02 mil)
More info here: https://www.lpkfusa.com/datasheets/prototyping/s103.pdf
0.4mm Minimum Drill Size
Minimum 10 mil. trace thickness + 10 mil. Spacing
No text or images
Protolaser S by LPKF
Max Panel Size and layout area (X/Y/Z): 12 X 9 X 1.4/0.9 in
Beam diameter in focus: 25 μm (1 mil)
Minimum trace thickness: 50 μm (2 mil)
Minimum trace gap: 25 μm (1 mil)
More info here: https://www.lpkfusa.com/datasheets/prototyping/protolaser_s.pdf
0.4mm Minimum Drill Size
Minimum 5 mil. trace thickness + 10 mil. Spacing
How can I learn how to design a PCB to submit if I’m a beginner?
We recommend that you create your PCB using Eagle which is part of the Autodesk
suite. All Texas A&M students can download Autodesk software for free through TAMU’s software store.
We also recommend that you take the LinkedIn learning course on PCB design using Eagle if
you’ve never created a PCB before using Eagle.