Announcing our new addition – The Makera Carvera CNC

Announcing our new addition – The Makera Carvera CNC

Announcing our new addition!

The Makera Carvera CNC

Spectra3D is excited to announce the acquisition of a new Makera Carvera CNC machine, designed to give us additional options for the way our customers approach their projects. The Carvera is a fully automatic desktop CNC machine, specifically tailored for makers, engineers, and designers, and it comes with a plethora of innovative features. With its quiet and easy-to-use design, this machine offers auto tool changing, auto probing, and auto leveling, making it a truly hands-off experience. 

The Carvera enables us to provide small format 3-axis and 4-axis machining, allowing for the creation of 3D models using a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, and even metal. With the Makera Carvera, our customers can now create a wide array of products, from simple machined plaques and art pieces to custom components and prototypes, expanding Spectra3D’s creative possibilities and productivity.

3D Printing Service Advantages

3D Printing Service Advantages

A 3D printing service is an affordable alternative to traditional manufacturing processes.


SLA Part Production

A 3D printing service is an affordable alternative to traditional manufacturing processes that offers numerous benefits, including faster turnaround times, reduced waste, and increased design flexibility.

3D printing technology, also known as additive manufacturing, creates objects by building up successive layers of material, such as plastic, metal, or ceramics, until the desired shape is achieved. This process is faster and more efficient than traditional manufacturing methods. CNC machining, Casting and molding, often require multiple steps and significant amounts of waste.

Advantages and Benefits

One of the key advantages of using a 3D printing service is the cost, speed and quality with which prototypes can be produced. With 3D printing, it’s often possible to produce a functional prototype in a day. Compare this to the weeks or even months it can take with traditional manufacturing methods. This can be especially beneficial for companies looking to bring new products to market quickly. Companies can test and refine prototypes with faster turn around. This in turn allows for more iterations of a design leading to a better end result.

Another key benefit of 3D printing is the overall reduction in waste material created. Traditional manufacturing processes, like CNC machining, often produce large amounts of scrap material that must be disposed of. This can be both environmentally harmful and expensive. In contrast, 3D printing generates minimal waste and can even be used to create products made from recycled or biodegradable materials.

3D printing offers increased design flexibility. With traditional manufacturing methods, there are often limitations on the shapes and sizes that can be produced. In contrast, 3D printing allows for the creation of complex, highly detailed objects with intricate geometries and internal structures. This increased design flexibility allows companies to produce products that would otherwise be impossible with traditional manufacturing methods.

Finally, 3D printing is a game-changer for companies looking to produce customized products at scale. The technology allows for the creation of unique and personalized items, without sacrificing the efficiency of mass production. This not only streamlines production processes, but also provides customers with products that are tailored to their specific needs and preferences. As a result, 3D printing offers a unique opportunity for companies to create high-quality, one-of-a-kind products that meet the demands of a rapidly evolving market.


In conclusion, a 3D printing service is an affordable alternative to traditional manufacturing processes that offers numerous benefits, including faster turnaround times, reduced waste, and increased design flexibility. Whether you are looking to produce a functional prototype or manufacture end-use products, 3D printing can provide a cost-effective, efficient, and environmentally friendly solution.

3D Printing Basics: Printer Build Volumes and Tolerances

3D Printing Basics: Printer Build Volumes and Tolerances

How big do you want to print?

Last week in our 3D printing basics series we discussed the history of 3D printing. Today, we are going to explore the wide variety of printer build volumes and tolerances that allow you to create prints ranging from very tiny to quite massive.

While all printers work by building a part layer by layer, the machines can vary significantly in terms of quality and functionality. When searching for a 3D printer for your home or office, you can really distinguish one printer from another based upon the printer build volumes and tolerances.

Printer Build Volumes

MakerBot printers

Different build volume = different sizes of prints

The build volume, quite simply, determines how big your machine allows you to print. For years, analysts believed that limited build volumes were the biggest obstacle standing in the way of widespread adoption of 3D printing technology. Today, we are starting to see the design of 3D printers re-imagined in ways that allow them to build full-scale structures, effectively eliminating this critique.

Starting at the true desktop level, the printer build volumes for a 3D printer can be quite limited. Many of the entry level printers, especially those around or below the $1,000 mark, have rather small build volumes, mostly less than four inches by four inches by four inches. This means that you can only print something that would fit inside of a four inch cube. While this is enough space to play around with the technology and build little trinkets, if you want to make actual, usable parts, you will find a four-inch limitation to be rather cumbersome.

Moving into the next level of printers, the high-end home printers and low-end industrial level printers typically vary from build spaces that are approximately eight inches cubed to about one foot cubed. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule and some printers have build volumes that are much larger.

When you get up into the super industrial machines, you will begin to see printers that are essentially mini factories.  In China, for example, there is a company called WinSun Decoration Design Engineering that has designed a printer so massive, it is capable of printing a mid-sized apartment complex and a 12,000 square foot mansion.

Another large build printer was produced by vehicle manufacturer Local Motors. Known as a microfactory, these printers are creating the world’s first 3D printed car. The first vehicle, called the Strati which is Italian for layers, is expected to hit the market sometime in 2015. Unlike most cars, which typically contain about 20,000 parts, the Strati is made of only 50 parts. This is because the majority of the car’s frame and exterior is printed as one part.

3d-printed building

3d-printed building

As the quest for bigger and bigger build spaces continues, researchers are beginning to literally think outside of the box. While 3D printers currently include an extruder as one small component of a larger overall machine, a group of researchers at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia are rethinking the entire design. Essentially, the researchers envision a robotic printer that is actually one giant extruder. With this design, there is no limitation as to the print size because, instead of building the print inside the printer, the robot circles the intended build space, extruding material as it goes. With this method, it is possible that we could even build whole skyscrapers in place.

Tolerance Levels

zoom in on printed layers

Tolerances determine the visibility of layers

As you might guess, as a general rule, the quality and consistency of the print tends to improve as the price of the printer increases.

Of course, the requirements for precision vary substantially based upon what you intend to do with the print. While some low and mid-level printers offer very nice prints, they can suffer from stringiness or a bit of distortion. Furthermore, the printers themselves can be more finicky.

If you are looking for some help figuring out which printer provides you with the combination of build volume and tolerance levels to suit your needs, contact us at Spectra3D Technologies for more information about our highly curated line of printers.



3D Printing Basics: Printer Build Volumes and Tolerances

3D Printing Basics: The History of 3D Printing

The History of 3D Printing

Do you think of 3D printing as a brand new, cutting edge technology? Well, you are half right. While it is true that 3D printing is cutting edge and has only entered the mainstream in recent years, the history of 3D printing actually dates back more than three decades.

In fact, the first recorded design for rapid prototyping (RP), the technology that 3D printing is built upon, was developed by a Japanese lawyer, Dr. Hideo Kodama, in 1980.

Rapid prototyping is simply any technique that uses computer aided design (CAD) programs to quickly develop a 3D model. The term rapid prototyping is often used interchangeably with additive manufacturing. Unlike traditional prototyping techniques that could take many weeks to complete, rapid prototyping technologies allow businesses to receive their prototype within hours of creating the design.

The Breakthrough and the Rise of 3D Systems

first commercially available 3D printer

The original SL-1 printer in the National Inventors Hall of Fame (image from

The first big breakthrough in 3D printing took place in 1983 when Charles “Chuck” Hull invented the first stereolithography apparatus. Hull would go on to found 3D Systems, one of the highest grossing 3D printing companies in operation and a company that we are proud to be a re-seller for. Hull came up with the idea for his machine while he was working on lamps for UV-curable resins and realized that the process could be used to create bonds in the resin that would build objects layer by layer.

Remarkably, the first inkjet printer had just been invented in 1976. There was only a period of eight years separating the invention of the first machine capable of printing in 2D and the first machine that could print real, tangible objects in 3D.

In the early days, Hull and 3D Systems found a niche with the automobile market. During this period, American automobile manufacturers were actively trying to create nicer, more technologically advanced vehicles. The problem that they were encountering was that traditional manufacturing methods weren’t able to give them the quick turn around on designs that the automobile companies wanted. 3D Systems offered the manufacturers a viable solution to their problem. 3D Systems also produced prototypes of metal parts and short-run manufacturing for metal parts.

After just four years in development, the first commercial 3D printer, known as the SLA-1, was completed in 1987 and, after undergoing extensive testing, was ready for market in 1988.

The Innovations Continue

Meanwhile, a number of other inventors were working on similar technologies. Carl Deckard, for example, filed a patent in 1987 for a process called Selective Laser Sintering, which is similar in process to stereolithography.

In 1989, Scott Crump filed for a patent for Fused Deposition Modeling technology, which works by extruding plastic layer by layer. Crump went on to co-found Stratasys (a company that we are also a re-seller for), and received the patent for FDM in 1992. Although Stratasys still holds the patent for FDM, this is one of the most common forms of 3D printing and many other companies have adopted the techniques of FDM under a variety of different names, such as fused filament fabrication (FFF) and plastic jet printing (PJP).

The term 3D printing was first used toward the beginning of the 1990s when MIT trademarked a procedure that it called 3-D Printing, abbreviated as 3DP. Since then, MIT has granted several organizations the permission to use this process.

For the next several years, inventors continued to refine the technology, typically with an emphasis on industrial applications. As the technology improved, 3D printers became more and more refined. Today, printers can produce objects faster, cheaper, and better than ever before. Even with the improved technology, however, we are in a stage of rapid advancement, with better models just on the horizon.

Now that we can create accurate, usable parts from a printer that will comfortably sit on our desktops at a reasonable price point, we are truly approaching a time when it is conceivable that 3D printers could soon be a common household appliance.


To learn more about the fascinating history of 3D printing, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

Animals Saved by 3D Printing

Animals Saved by 3D Printing

With robotic hands, custom-printed splints, and medicine that can be printed to specific doses, the news is full of ways that 3D printing can help humans live healthier, more productive lives. But, if you look close enough, there are also some really amazing examples of how 3D printing has also been helping some adorable members of the animal kingdom.  Here are a few of our favorite stories about animals saved by 3D printing.

3D printing saves a pelican

image from (

1. A pelican’s new beak. When a pelican began acting strangely at the Dalian Forest Zoo, staff members soon realized that the bird’s beak was damaged. Because a beak is vital to both food gathering and determining a pelican’s social status, a beak is crucial to a pelican’s survival. After two attempts at repairing the beak through other methods, zoo workers decided that they would try to use a 3D printer to make the necessary repairs. Because it appeared that there was already some new growth, doctors determined that it wasn’t necessary to print the entire beak. The final product is a 3D printed extension that screws into the pelican’s original beak, allowing the pelican to feed normally once more.

image from (

2. A turtle’s new home. A turtle’s shell protects them in a number of ways, including from bacteria and infection. In some cases, poor nutrition can lead to a bone disease which can cause the shell to wear away. When that happens, a turtle can be left painfully exposed. This is the fate that turtle Cleopatra was facing. Luckily, however, Cleopatra was taken in by Canyon Critters Rescue. Here, founder Nicola “Nico” Novelli determined that he could 3D print a shell protector to prevent Cleopatra’s existing shell from wearing down further. With the help of Colorado Technical University, a shell was modeled and fit over Cleopatra’s existing shell. As Cleopatra continues to grow, new shells will have to be fashioned to fit.


image from Buzzfeed (

3.  A sea turtle is saved. Who doesn’t love a good turtle story? In fact, we love them so much, we had to include two. This turtle tale takes us to Turkey, where a sea turtle was struck in the face with a boat propeller. The terrible accident left the turtle unable to eat. Rescuers brought the turtle to Pamukkale University. Here, researchers designed and printed the turtle a brand new jaw. The jaw worked so well that the sea turtle was released back into the wild.

Buttercup the duck with 3D printed foot.

image from Simplify 3D (

4. A duck takes a swim. When Buttercup the duck was born, one foot was pointed in the wrong direction. In 2013, Buttercup’s trainer Mike Garey decided that her best chance of living a normal life would be with a 3D printed prosthetic foot so Garey printed her a walking foot. Soon, however, Garey realized that, while the foot was great for land, it didn’t help much in the water. Garey went back to the drawing board (or the Simplify3D software) and modeled a brand new prosthesis designed just for swimming. Today, Buttercup is able to switch from one leg to another, allowing her to waddle and swim to her heart’s content.


picture of a rhino, an animal saved by 3D printing.

image from Ruth Hartnup via Flickr

5. Can the rhinos be saved? While this story is more about the future potential of 3D printing saving animals, it is too exciting not to include. For years, rhinos have been poached for their horns, reducing their numbers by 98% since 1960. This massive slaughter is the result of the incredible value of rhino horn. When sold on the black market, rhino horn is worth more than gold and illicit drugs like cocaine. Now Pembient, a Seattle-based bioengineer startup, believes that they have landed on a solution. By creating an ink of keratin, the basic material of a rhino horn, and splicing in rhino DNA, the group believes that it can 3D print horns that are indistinguishable from the real thing. The beauty of this solution is that the horns can be produced for a much lower price than the real thing on the open market. Therefore, Pembient could flood the market with the fake horns, drive down the cost of the real thing, and remove the incentive to poach. 3D printing could literally save the rhinos from extinction.

a dog with a 3d printed wheelchair.

image from (

6. A dog gets a new set of wheels. Meet one of the most adorable animals saved by 3D printing. When Bubbles the weiner dog was born, her proud human parents soon realized that she was missing her two front legs. Determined to make her as mobile as possible, the couple set out to design the pup some wheels to help him get around. Their first thought was to create the wheels out of model airplane parts. When this didn’t work, they bought a 3D printer and got to designing. The couple printed out wheels, complete with adorable little heart patterns, and a harness that was designed to perfectly fit Bubble’s long and thin frame. Today, the design is available to download on Thingiverse for free with the hopes that it can help other disabled dogs.

image from IFL Science (

7. A dog runs for the first time. Derby is another beautiful pup that is benefiting from 3D printing. Unlike Bubbles, Derby was born with front legs, they were just deformed. First, Derby’s owner tried the cart route, but that didn’t give Derby the full mobility that his owner wanted, so they turned to 3D printed prosthetics. To allow Derby to walk on a variety of terrains, the designers opted for a loop-shaped prosthetic. Soon, Derby was up and running. Because the prosthetics are 3D printed, they can easily be tweaked or replaced when necessary.

bald eagle before and after 3D printed beak.

image from Viral Thread (×282.png)

8. A bald eagle will soar again. Beauty the bald eagle is one of Northern Idaho’s natural treasures, which made it all the more shocking when somebody shot her in the face. Although Beauty survived the blast, her top beak was decimated, leaving her unable to feed herself or survive in the wild. After 18 months of design work, biologists were ready to 3D print a functioning prototype made from nylon-based polymer. As the team fitted the eagle with her new beak, they had to make subtle tweaks to the shape of the beak. Finally, the prosthesis fit perfectly and was glued into place. While the beak is working so far, it is only the first step in fitting Beauty with a permanent beak.

These animals saved by 3D printing offer further proof as to the amazing potential of this technology. To keep up-to-date about the exciting developments in 3D printing, join our Spectra3D newsletter.




MakerBot Dedicated to 5th Generation Platform

MakerBot Dedicated to 5th Generation Platform

MakerBot Update

As a MakerBot reseller, we are very excited to let you know about their plans for the coming year. Rather than focusing on big changes like new releases in 2015, MakerBot is focused on fully providing a better user experience for the 5th Generation platform.

Our favorite thing about MakerBot’s trajectory is that they reinforced the idea that the company is dedicated to continuous improvement of the current 5th Generation printers. This is great news for our customers, who often express concern that they will end up with a printer that is obsolete within a year or two. Instead of releasing the 6th Generation this year and the 7th Generation next year, MakerBot is adopting a model of steady positive change to make the 5th Generation the best machine that it can be. MakerBot has already been demonstrating this dedication to a better printer through continued upgrades to the firmware. From personal experience on the MakerBot Replicator that we have in the office, we have noticed a vast improvement in printing quality following the most recent firmware upgrade.

MakerBot, as a subsidiary of Stratasys, it is the largest manufacturer of 3D printers in the world. This means that they have the resources to identify and fix problems while still innovating and working on what’s next.

New Printing Materials

Speaking of what’s next, MakerBot is rolling out some really cool ways that you can get even more use out of your 5th Generation printers. One of the first endeavors that they are undertaking is new materials. Citing their belief that the ability to print with more and more materials is going to be the biggest focus in new 3D printers, MakerBot is creating four new materials which will be available this year and can be printed with your existing MakerBot 5th Generation Printers. The new materials include limestone, bronze, maple wood, and iron.

Because the materials are still primarily PLA based, MakerBot refers to the materials as PLA+. While explaining the new materials, MakerBot mentioned that they are made of the actual product, even to the point that the maple filament actually smells like maple wood.The materials can also be finished by sanding, staining, polishing, and more.


With these four materials and other improvements on the horizon, MakerBot is upgrading the capabilities of the 5th Generation line. If you have been on the fence about whether or not to buy a MakerBot 5th Generation now or wait for the next generation, this commitment proves that there is no better time than the present, as you can take advantage of the current robust capabilities now and look forward to further improvements in the future. Contact us at Spectra3D Technologies today to learn more about our MakerBot 5th Generation printers, or see the power of MakerBot for yourself with a free sample part.

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