3D Printing Service
Additive manufacturing for precision prototypes and end-use production parts
ISO 9001:2015 | ISO:13485 | DNV Qualification of Manufacture Certification for Inconel 718 | JOSCAR
Looking for more than a desktop 3D printer can provide? Need an alternative to your in-house capabilities? Our industrial 3D printing service ensures accuracy and repeatability so you get highly precise parts—every time. At Protolabs, additive manufacturing is designed for functional prototypes, complex designs, and production components in as fast as 1 day.
3D Printing Processes
Metal 3D Printing (DMLS)
Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) uses a fibre laser system that draws onto a surface of atomised metal powder, welding the powder into fully dense metal parts.
Stereolithography (SLA) uses an ultraviolet laser that draws on the surface of liquid thermoset resin to create thousands of thin layers until final parts are formed.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Selective laser sintering (SLS) uses a CO2 laser that fuses nylon-based powder, layer by layer until final thermoplastic parts are created.
PolyJet & 3D Printed Silicone
PolyJet uses a jetting process where small droplets of liquid photopolymer are sprayed from multiple jets onto a build platform and cured in layers that form elastomeric parts.
Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)
Multi Jet Fusion selectively applies fusing and detailing agents across a bed of nylon powder, which are fused in thousands of layers by heating elements into a solid functional component.
Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) Feedback on Every Quote
Our online 3D printing experience now includes design for additive manufacturing feedback with each quote. This information can be used to improve the quality of your parts and easily identify any hard to print features.Start your 3d printing project
Compare 3D Printing Processes
New to our 3D printing service and not sure which additive technology is right for your 3D design? Compare the capabilities of each process below to see what fits your application's requirements.
|Materials||Max Part Size||Min Feature Size||Tolerances|
|Metal 3D Printing||
Normal Res: 250mm x 250mm x 300mm
|Normal Res: 1.0mm
High Res: 1.0mm
Fine Res: 0.5mm
|Typically, for well-designed parts, with a designated build direction, tolerances of +/- 0.1 mm to +/- 0.2 mm + 0.005 mm/mm are expected and achieved|
|Normal Res: 736mm x 635mm x 533mm
Normal Res True Silicone: 70mm x 130mm x 100mm)
High Res: 247mm x 245mm x 254mm
Micro Res: 127mm x 127mm x 50mm (max. suggested 25mm x 25mm x 25mm - with bigger parts, lead time may increase)
|Normal Res: 0.25mm for the XY draw plane (0.406mm for the Z build direction)
High Res: 0.13mm for the XY draw plane (0.406mm for the Z build direction)
Micro Res: 0.07mm for the XY draw plane (0.2mm for the Z build direction)
|Normal Res: The tolerances for well-designed parts are in the X / Y direction ± 0.1mm plus an additional ± 0.001mm / mm; In Z direction ± 0.13mm plus additional ± 0.001mm / mm
High Res: The tolerances for well-designed parts are in the X / Y direction ± 0.05mm plus an additional ± 0.001mm / mm; In Z direction ± 0.13mm plus additional ± 0.001mm / mm
Micro Res: The tolerances for well-designed parts in the X / Y direction ± 0.05mm plus an additional ± 0.001mm / mm; In Z-direction ± 0.13mm plus plus additional ± 0.001mm / mm
|Selective Laser Sintering||Nylons
PA 12 Smooth White: 676mm x 367mm x 564mm
|PA 12 Smooth White: 0.75mm
PA 12 Carbon Filled Smooth Black, PA 12 Flex Pure Black: 0.80mm
PA 12 Glass Filled Smooth White, TPU-88A Pure Black: 1.00mm
Typically, expected tolerances on well-designed parts are +/-0.2mm, plus +0.002mm/mm
TPU-88A Pure Black: ± 0.3mm plus ± 0.002mm/mm can be expected (for parts bigger than 100 mm in this material, tolerance will be ± 0.3% of nominal dimension)
|Multi Jet Fusion||
284mm x 380mm x 380mm
Suggested maximum dimensions: 200mm x 200mm x 200mm (higher dimensions may increase warping and dimensional inaccuracy risk)
|0.5mm||For well-designed parts, tolerances of ±0.25mm (Ultrasint™ TPU-01: ±0.30mm) plus ±0.002mm/mm can typically be achieved. Note that tolerances may change depending on part geometry.|
Elastomer (30A to 95A)
|Elastomers: 490mm x 391mm x 200mm
3D Printed Silicone: 297mm x 210mm x 200mm
Minimum free-standing wall or feature is 0.80mm. Holes, channels, and slots less than 0.80mm in diameter/width will not form; maximum length-to-width aspect ratio is 4:1
|For well-designed parts, tolerances of ±0.1mm plus ±0.001mm/mm can typically be achieved. Note that tolerances may change depending on part geometry.|
Available 3D Printing Materials
- Cobalt Chrome
- Stainless Steel
- Maraging Steel
- PA (Nylon)
- Digital Photopolymer
- True Silicone
- 3D Printed Silicone
Explore our material feature that lets you compare the cost of 3DP processes, materials, and resolutions.View Sample Quote
"Great service at a fair price and the quality of my parts is fantastic. Keep up the great work.”
Why Choose Protolabs for 3D Printing?
Get design feedback from our experienced engineering team that has helped thousands of customers bring their products to market with quality 3D-printed parts. We will also work with you to determine optimal part orientation based on your application's requirements.
Our industry-leading tolerances and surface finish quality stems from a dedicated process engineering and quality team for each 3D printing technology. We also offer a proprietary material called Microfine™, which can build features as small as 0.07mm.
Wide Material Selection
Across our five 3D printing technologies, we use a range of commercial-grade thermoset resins, and thermoplastic and metal powders to 3D print parts that are suitable for various part applications and industries. If required for your parts, we offer a variety of post-process options such as heat treating, secondary machining, plating, painting, and dyeing to further enhance mechanical properties and cosmetics.
Scale and Production
Our facility is home to more than 180 3D printing machines that produce metal and plastic parts. This means we'll always have capacity when you need parts fast - whether it's a small batch of parts or production level volumes.
What is 3D Printing?
3D printing is a term used to describe a number of additive manufacturing technologies that produce parts one layer at a time from a 3D digital model. Some 3D printing machines will extrude a filament to create a parts, while others use lasers to sinter or cure raw materials like metal or plastic powders and liquid resins. There are a variety of 3D printing technologies that differ in terms of materials, surface finish quality, cost, and quantity to name a few.
What are the advantages of 3D Printing?
Building parts layer-by-layer brings about many benefits that open up design possibilities that were previously unachievable through traditional processes like injection moulding, machining, or casting.
- Complex, organic geometries with limited impact on part cost
- Consolidation of multi-component assembly into a single part
- No upfront tooling costs
- Fast production for parts within 24 hours
- Internal features for advanced heat transfer and flow applications
What is 3D printing used for?
Common 3D Printing Applications
Additive manufacturing can be leveraged for both rapid prototyping and production in aerospace, medical, automotive, and other large industry sectors. Examples of typical parts, include:
- Form and fit prototypes
- Housings and enclosures
- Medical devices
- Snap fits
- Jigs and fixtures
- Heat exchangers and heat sinks
- Engine components
- Fuel injectors
- Surgical instrumentation
- Prostheses and Orthoses
Enhanced Surface Quality for SLS and MJF Parts
Protolabs has redeveloped our surface quality standards for MJF and SLS produced parts, delivering a best-in-class finish through flexible surface roughness options. Now you can select the appropriate surface finish that your part requires, with the quality service that you expect from Protolabs.Learn More
3D Printing Design Guides
3D Printing FAQs
Additional Links and Resources