Rapid prototyping consists of both additive and subtractive methods. The additive method builds a 3D model by adding a layer at a time. Subtractive methods cut away material using a CNC Mill. At Converge we employ both methods as both have their strengths and weaknesses. This allows us to use the best technology to fit the individual job.
Files can be emailed to or uploaded through the private section of the site for active accounts. We are able to accept most types of files for prototyping including .3DM, .STL, .OBJ, .SLC, .3DS as well as Space Claim and ArtCam files. The preferred method is .3DM, this gives us the most flexibility to prepare models for printing or milling.
We utilize two different technologies for 3D printing we have two Solidscape T76+, an Asiga Pico 2 and a Solus resin printer. Resin printers are faster and make more durable models but do not cast quite as easily. The Solidscape is slower, makes very fragile models but casts exceptionally well.
CNC Milling is a subtractive process that cuts a wax from traditional carving wax. Typically milling will give the smoothest finish. Also since the mill uses standard carving wax the pieces can be altered by hand if need be. A disadvantage is that some pieces that need to be hollowed out will need to be done by hand. Because it is carving wax no special casting procedures are needed. It is also best for platinum castings.
Hand Carving & Mold Making
Long before the CAD/CAM technology hit our industry we were busy creating models the "old fashioned" way, and we still occasionally hand carve models. For pieces that need to be reproduced more than just one or two times, it is most cost effective to make a master model and a wax injection mold rather than print or mill each piece.