Below you will find answers to the most common questions we are asked about CASTOR -
the manufacturers’ gateway for 3D printing. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us.
1. What types of files does CASTOR support and are files uploaded as an assembly?
CASTOR supports STL, STEP (or STP), SLDPRT and SLDASM CAD files. They can be uploaded as an assembly or as single parts.
2. What is the maximum file size?
CASTOR has no file size limitations; however, it will take slightly longer to process heavier files.
3. How long will it take to receive results after an upload?
It depends on the number of parts uploaded, their weight and complexity. Usually between 1 minute and few hours (for larger assemblies).
4. How many different parts can I analyze?
That depends on your plan. The basic CASTOR Light license allows you to upload up to 1,000 parts annually. Unused quota from one year will be automatically added to the next upon renewal of your subscription. CASTOR takes out most Off The Shelf Items from within an assembly, so they won’t be analyzed as nominees to be printed
5. How is the model’s cost estimation calculated?
We estimate cost, not price. Meaning we evaluate the cost of manufacturing of the part in 3D printing. The estimation takes into consideration the material cost, the printing time, man hours for operating the printer, support removal process, and more.
The pricing for each part, provided during the quotation phase, might be different, as it will include the Service Bureau margins, non-standard post-processing costs (if requested), shipping and handling costs etc...
1. Does CASTORs software fix STL files?
If your STL file has some issues, they will be solved using a mesh healing process.
The mesh healing process includes: automatic repairing, fixing self-intersecting, removing noise shells, smoothing hole-closing (watertight the model). The process may or may not effect the printed part, depending on the severity of the problem, the slicer and the printer.
2. What criteria does the software utilize to check printability? (printing volume, wall thickness, gap clearance, interlocked/enclosed parts, voids, material removal hole, collisions, geometry defects, etc).
The algorithm is derived from 3 main blocks:
1. Printability check
2. Material comparison
3. Cost estimation
When checking printability we analyze whether the part can fit into a printing tray (or if it is too small to be
cost effective in 3DP) and whether the parts wall thickness is adequate for the chosen printer.
When analyzing the file we check:
● Water-tightness (holes)
● Self-intersection and collision
● Normal direction and polygons count
● Flatness (Not a 3D part)
Material comparison finds the best match material out of the 3D Printing material’s data base, that matches the original material chosen for the part by its designer.
The cost estimation determines whether the part has a chance to be cheaper than it’s traditional manufacturing cost, by analyzing the financial break-even point according to the yearly production quantity.
3. How does the software suggest changes for part consolidation?
The algorithm looks at a full machine BOM and the full assembly in order to see the full picture. In addition, we consider the original material that was chosen by the mechanical engineer (Material Properties list from the CAD software).
We might suggest consolidation of non-moving parts that are:
1. Made from the same material
2. Using screws to join the connections between them
3. Having no special requirements on the tolerances between them (under 0.1mm gap).
In some cases the suggestions from CASTOR can provide the designing engineer an additional point of view in order to save costs using 3D printing.
4. What additional information is needed by the user other than the uploaded files?
Other than the uploaded files, the user needs to provide information regarding the estimated yearly production quantity.
In addition, the user is asked to provide either the BOM (Bill of Materials) from the CAD software with the specified material for each part, or the single material that is suitable for all parts. There are several other advanced parameters that users can set, like tolerance preferences or specific application, but these are not mandatory.
1. What are the supported processes and technologies? (Stratasys FDM, 3D Systems SLS, etc…)
Our database is being updated continuously. In general, the recommendations are chosen from the leading technologies of industrial 3D printing
2. Are you in partnership with any service bureau?
Yes. We have contracts with service bureaus that own the leading 3D printing technologies. The service bureaus are distributed globally from Japan through Europe to North America.
3. How does CASTOR choose a printer, material, and a service bureau?
CASTOR core decision of the printing configuration, lays on the best match material properties relative to the original material chosen for the part by it’s designer. Derived from the material is the right technology, the printer, and the service bureau who can print the part (assuming the bureau is the closest one, with the capabilities of the recommended material and printer)
4. How does CASTOR estimate a part’s lead time?
CASTOR lead time estimation includes the time it takes to manufacture the part (based on CASTOR printing speed calculation, and post processes), and the delivery time. The delivery time is based on the user’s location