STL Modelling Tips & Pre-Print Checks

Our servers are now able to process both ASCII and Binary formated .stl files

This is in ASCII format

This is in Binary format

Our single file Upload is set to 50Mb, Binary files are typically much smaller. If you have a model with a large file size it will be more efficient to use binary format rather than ascii. You can tell the difference between file types by opening with a text editor such as notepad on Windows or TextEdit on Mac. if your model is still too large, please contact us and we can arrange another method.

The largest item we are able to print in 1 piece is 17x17x17cm

It is always possible to create larger items by splitting the models and allow them to be assembled later with interlocking features and/or glue.


Depending on the item, it is typical for the internal sections of the model not to be filled solid with plastic, instead a lattice like structure is used for the following reasons:

  • Reduced Weight

  • Reduced waste, if the part function is mainly asthetic, there is no need to waste plastic for the internal structure.

  • Improve printing speed

  • Reduce unnecessary shipping costs

If you have specific requirements for a print, for example, you may have designed a scuba camera handle and calculated the volumes to achieve the required bouyancy, obviously you would not wish these assumptions applied to your model, 

please just add a comment to the paypal order or send us an email first.


Print Sizes & Weight

We currently print with PLA 1.75mm Filament with a layer height of 0.1mm

The material properties stated below are approximate and for guidance only.


Density = 1.25 g/cm³

Youngs Modulus = 3.3Gpa

Tensile Strength = 57.8 MPa

Elongation to Failure =3.8%

Heat Resistance ~110ºC (untested)



Model Preparation

The best surface finishes are achieved on the sides and top of the model, orient your model to take advantage of this.

While modelling your part / component it can quite often be easier to start with the origin of the sketch or model far away from the component. This is common if the part is part of an assembly or modelling is started 'in context'. Please make sure the stl file origin is close to the part itself and the x-y plane is located at the bottom of the part as you intend it to be printed. If any section of the part is below the x-y plane our live quote tool should move the part up until it sits on this plane, it will not move the part down if it is above the x-y plane and you would be quoted for the required support.

The best orientation for this part

Not the best orientation for this part

Model Overhangs & Support Material

We are able to print angles up to 45 degrees without the need for support material, angles greater than 45 degrees require the addition of support material. The support material is calculated and added just before the model is printed and will be  based on the specific model. Our live quote tool will estimate if support material may be required and adjust the price accordingly (as more material is required). The yellow parts in the picture below is the support material required to print the part if it is improperly oriented, the same part, if oriented correctly will print without support material at all.