Instead of giving you a series of questions we want people to ask, we have collected only those that really have been asked. Didn’t find what you were looking for? Join us on Get Satisfaction, a community support website where you can post your own questions or check to see if the question is already answered.
Are my files treated confidentially?
Yes. Knowing that you probably spent several hours or days on your design, we treat it with confidentiality. We don’t publish renders or photos of your design, nor make the design available for everyone, without your permission. The uploaded models cannot be downloaded by anyone but us.
What models are prohibited to be printed?
We don’t print models that are in conflict with our mission and value statement. For example, models intended for the weapons industry or models for which we have ethical concerns, like skimming devices, don’t qualify for printing.
Which is the best 3D modeling software to use?
There is no ‘best’ 3D modeling software. However, there are a lot of really good software packages such as Rhino, Maya, and SolidWorks. But, CAD software such as AutoCAD and Pro Engineer also work well for 3D printing. If you’re just getting started, you can try SketchUp or Blender, and both can be downloaded for free.
I have no 3D design experience, how can I design my own model?
You can learn how to 3D model by learning how to use 3D modeling tools such as Rhino, Blender or SketchUp. It will take you a few weeks to become familiar with these software packages and half a year or more to become an accomplished user.
What is minimal wall thickness and level of detail?
Minimum wall thickness is defined as the minimum thickness that your model should have at any given point. The minimum wall thickness and level of detail depend on the process being used. For ABS, paintable resin, transparent resin, prime gray, polyamide, and alumide we recommend a wall thickness greater than 1mm. For high detail resin, walls of 0.8mm are possible but will not be very strong. In titanium, walls can be 0.3mm thick. For polyamide, walls of 0.8mm are possible in some cases but will not be very strong so we would not recommend that your model has large areas in this wall thickness. For multicolor we recommend walls of 1,5mm or more. And finally, for gold and silver, walls of 0.5mm are possible.
Limitations also partly depend on the size and shape of the design.
Level of detail can be described as the difference height between 2 surfaces (cf. extruded text on a surface).
The levels of detail for the different processes are:
How big can I make my model?
The maximum build volume is different for the various 3D printing processes we use. But, you should note that we have access to the world’s largest 3D printers, so no one can offer prints larger than ours.
What if my 3D model contains ‘errors’? Will you fix it?
If your model contains errors, our software will try to fix it online. However, in case it cannot automatically be fixed, you won’t receive an online price, and you can submit an offline price request free of charge. Then, if you would like to order the model, we can fix it for you. If, for some reason, you cannot request an offline price, just email contact @ i.materialise.com and we’ll get right on it!
Do you have other materials available than the ones listed on the website?
Yes, we have many more materials and finishes available. What’s more, we can paint your model in any color, varnish it, and treat it; and we have many high-end, high-impact and high-heat-resistant materials available. Email contact @ i.materialise.com with your requirements if you need one of our high-end materials.
What colors can I get for a model?
Once you’ve uploaded a model and chosen a material, you can see which standard colors the material has available. In addition, we have professional painting departments where we can paint your model in any color you wish. If you want your model in a color that is not listed, email contact @ i.materialise.com and we’ll tell you what your options are.
Can I paint the models myself?
Yes, you can. Standard model-making paints work well with polyamide and on the stereolithography (paintable resin and transparent resinand prime gray) and PolyJet (high detail resin) materials. Both acrylic and water based paints work as well, but several layers may be needed. This is especially the case for polyamide since its porous structure is still visible after one coat of paint. Please, do not use any harsh paints since some chemicals may degrade your models or react with the 3D printing materials. Use caution and lots of ventilation when painting.
What material should I choose?
There is no ‘perfect’ 3D printing material or process. We’ve tried our best through our naming and descriptions to give you an idea of what is possible on the site.
Generally, if you need a flexible material, or things like living hinges, and a maximum freedom of design, use polyamide. If you need something in very high detail that does not have to be strong, use high detail resin. With a little less detail but a smooth finish, you can also use paintable resin or transparent resin. If you need a very high level of smoothness, use paintable resin, transparent resin or prime gray. If your goal is a high level of detail combined with strength, use polyamide, titanium or prime gray. If dimensional accuracy is what you are after, use ABS. If the toughness of the material is your priority, use ABS or titanium. If you’re looking for a strong material, titanium, ABS, and polyamide are the strongest three. If you’re aiming for a transparent material, use transparent resin. If you want to 3D print in color, use multicolor. If you want something large, or even more, want something to be large and relatively inexpensive, use paintable resin, transparent resin or prime gray.
Why should I sign up for an account?
When you register and login, you don’t need to fill in your name/address and shipping info each time you need an offline price request or order.
If you have a valid VAT number, you can avoid being charged VAT by logging in. Please contact us beforehand so that we can validate the VAT number.
Some sections of the site require a login, e.g. when you want to take part in a challenge. With a login, you can control the profile page where you can manage your uploaded models, follow up your offline price requests, and more.
Why is everything in English?
Because we speak English really well. Our website and the customer service we provide are in English because it’s currently, more or less, the universal language of the web. However, we also speak Dutch, Ukrainian, and Russian. If you don’t English well, Google Translate is a wonderful tool.
What file formats are supported?
You can upload .3ds, .stl, .igs, .model, .mxp, .obj, .wrl, .3dm, .skp and .dae file formats to i.materialise. If you have a large file, or a number of files, you can also use the RAR and ZIP formats to compress them and upload these to us. Currently, uploading .igs and .dae files won’t result in an online price but we’re working on it. Meanwhile you can always request an offline price for them. If the format of your file is not supported, you can zip your file, upload the zip file and request an offline price or email it to contact @ i.materialise.com. We will contact you shortly after.
How do I get a price for my design?
Upload your 3D design to the 3D print lab by pressing the upload button and selecting your file. Your file will then be uploaded and verified. Select the material in which you would like to materialise your design and the price will be shown.
If the format of your file is not supported, you can zip your file, upload the zip file and request an offline price or email it to contact @ i.materialise.com. We will contact you shortly after.
Can I group my models into 1 file?
No. There are several reasons why you should not be doing it. Please find the explanation here.
The website doesn’t give me a price for my uploaded model. What now?
In most cases, the price can automatically be calculated online. However, the price is not always available, and this can be for several reasons (dimensional problems, errors in the design…). When this occurs, you will be asked to request on offline price, and this is free of charge. We will contact you within 48 hours during business days.
What if I can’t upload my model through the website?
If you are unable to upload the models, email them to contact @ i.materialise.com. In cases where the file is less than 2 MB, attach it to the email. Otherwise, you can send us a link from where we can download the file. Services like Services like WeTransfer or YouSendIt are free and provide easy upload facilities, but don’t give guarantees about confidentiality.
We always appreciate feedback why it wasn’t possible to upload your model in the 3D print lab.
Do I need to order architectural models through the SketchUp plugin?
The SketchUp plugin facilitates ordering of architectural models in multicolor that fit inside predefined volumes at a fixed price. In case you prefer another material and size for your architectural model, upload it to our 3D print lab and get or request a price for it.
Where can I track the progress of my order?
You can track the progress of your order by logging in and going to ‘Orders’ in your profile.
Can I get a bulk discount for large orders?
Yes, for most orders in our 3D print lab, the unit price varies, depending on the quantity of copies. But we are also capable of handling really large orders and huge volumes, for which we can give you an offline price. Or just email contact @ i.materialise.com and we’ll get right on it!
What happens if I order something that can’t be printed?
Before sending the models to the printers they are checked for printability. If we encounter problems, we will contact you and, if possible, suggest solutions to make them printable.
If we cannot find a solution, your order will be cancelled and your money will be refunded.
What payment options are available?
It is possible to pay with all major credit cards or PayPal. During checkout, you will have the option to pay by credit card or through PayPal. Choose PayPal if you have a PayPal account or an American Express card.
Do I need to pay VAT?
That depends on where you want your design to be delivered. For non-EU-countries no VAT will be applied. For EU-countries the VAT amount will be added to the total amount and can be claimed back via national tax authorities if you have filled-out a valid VAT number. VAT for EU-countries (excl. Belgium), can be prevented if you create an account, and after we have validated your VAT number.
How do I use a promo code?
Insert the promo code or voucher into the predefined field during the checkout process. When the code is valid, you will see the discount appear. Contact us if you need any help.
How long does it take to print a model?
The standard lead time (time between placement and shipmentof your order) is 10-20 working days (except for priority orders), depending on the complexity, material, and finishing of your order. Most of the orders are shipped out within 10 business days.
How accurate can you print my model?
Dimensional accuracy varies for each material. Please consult our material pages.
What is the surface quality of a finished model?
The surface quality depends on your material choice. Each material has a different natural surface quality. This is also true for the different finishing options. Consult our material pages for more examples.
Do you ship worldwide?
We ship to almost every country. When checking out, you can fill in your postal code and location. The total price will be updated to include the cost of shipping. Shipping is free on all orders above $99 or 99€.
Can I ship to a different address than my own?
Yes, you can fill in the desired delivery address in the shipment details. The shipping costs will be calculated based on this information. Shipping is free on all orders above $99 or 99€.
How long does it take to ship my model(s)?
The transit time for the shipment depends on your location. It typically takes 1-5 days.
Do I have to pay import tax on my order?
Unfortunately, duties and import taxes are not included in the cost of shipping. You should contact the customs office of the country to which your models are being delivered. There are no duties or import taxes for orders send to countries in the EU. The size of the import tax is determined by the classification of the traded product, and this is done based on a code we indicate on the shipment document, the so-called ‘harmonized code’. We ship models with the harmonized Code 39269097.
How much are the shipping costs?
This cost depends on the delivery location. You can check the shipping cost in your cart. When checking out, you can fill in your location and postal code and the total price will be updated to include the cost of shipping. Shipping is free on all orders above $99 or 99€.
What’s the difference between UPS Standard and UPS Express Saver?
The difference between UPS Standard and UPS Express Saver lies in transit time. UPS Standard always uses road transport and a foreseen delivery date while UPS Express Saver uses air transport (if faster) and guarantees the foreseen delivery date. Outside of Europe, we always use UPS Express Saver.
How can I offer my designs for sale?
In your profile, you will find a section called "gallery items" that holds a list of all your shipped models.
Each of these models can be put in the gallery to be sold. However, you will need to enable your public and vendor profile before you can begin selling your models.
In order to pay you, we need your Paypal email account.
How can I follow up on my earnings and payments?
Go to your profile. In the sales section you will find an overview of the items sold so far, how much you have earned, and how much you have already been paid.
When do I get my money?
Your payment becomes accrued 15 days after the order has been shipped. Then, on the 15th of the month, or the first working
day after the 15th, you will be paid.
*Important! You will only be paid if your total earnings are 25 euro/30 dollars or more. If the total is less than 25 euro/ dollars, we will pay you the following month. The 25 euro/25 dollar limit is set to reduce administrative costs.
Why is there a clearance period?
A lot of things can happen in those first 15 days after shipment. For example, a customer can cancel the order or can return it. In both of these cases, you are not entitled to a designer's fee. If we paid you immediately, you would have to then return the money (and pay administrative fees). With a clearance period in place, i.materialise covers the costs of cancellations and/or returns at no extra cost to you.
What is a good designer's fee percentage?
The designer's fee is yours to choose. We suggest a fee that is 10% above the production price.
The higher you set your fee, the more you will earn per sale, but you might not sell very many items. The lower your fee, the more likely people will be to buy your items, but of course, you will earn less per sale.
So, you need to find a good balance between high fees/low sales and low fee/high sales.
The fee can be adjusted any time you want. The new fee will be applied to all new orders, but it is not retroactive, so anyone that bought your item at the old price, will have to be happy with the old price.
What is a transaction fee?
The cost that is needed to transfer the money into your account. It includes e.g. the administration and transaction cost charged by Paypal.
How much will I earn?
That is entirely up to the number of models you sell and the fee you request.
You can always try promoting your model extra through e.g. social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc) to increase your earnings.
On my profile page, what is the difference between gallery items, sold items, earnings, and payments?
They give different views on the activity in the gallery.
Can I offer designs for sale that I didn't initially order at i.materialise?
No, because we need to be sure that the model is printable before it can be sold.
Can I offer my model in another material or color than I initially ordered?
That is something we are still working on. You need to contact us if you are interested in this option.
Can I get paid in another currency than Euro?
No. At this moment, we can only pay you in Euro. However, Paypal allows you to convert it to your own currency.
Can I use my earnings to order 3D models?
No. This would cause administrative difficulties, so it is not possible.
Do I need to pay a fee if I order my own design?
If you order your model from the gallery, then YES, but of course you will get the fee refunded.
If you reorder it from previous order, then NO.
Reordering designs will be made possible in one of our upcoming releases. Until then, find the model in the uploaded model section and just order it again.
Can I change the name of my design?
Yes. You can do that in your profile, in the "my designs" section. Look up the design and edit the "item title".
How can I promote my design?
A good starting point is making the gallery item page as attractive as possible. You can do this by presenting your
model in an attractive way, choosing a good name, adding an appealing description, and using astonishing photos of
your model. Make sure that on at least 1 photo, the size of the model is made clear. To do this, place a recognizable
object next to it in the photo so that people get a good idea how big the model is (for example, a coin, a pen, etc).
Select the appropriate categories and tags.
Select the "Offer for Sale" option and distribute the url for your design to others so that they can order it. The url usually looks like this : http://i.materialise.com/gallery/<name of your model> We will regularly be handpicking interesting models for display on our gallery home page.
Do I need to pay income tax on my earnings?
Normally, yes. Everything you earn should be declared to your tax authority. However, every country has different rules about what and how to declare income. We advise to check with your local tax authorities for an answer to this question.
How can I stop selling a design?
Go to the design on your profile pages and select a different option than "Offer for sale".
If you want to stop selling all of your items, disable your vendor profile and all the models you have for sale will automatically change to "Display only". Enabling the vendor profile again will put them for sale again.
Will you ship my design in a dedicated box?
Only if you ask. Normally, we ship your design in a regular i.materialise box. If you want to ship it in a special box or insert special flyers/accessories/DVD, please contact us.
What about the IP rights on my models in the gallery?
The person who placed the initial order is considered the owner of the model and has the IP rights
for that model. By accepting the vendor terms and conditions, you give i.materialise the right to
produce copies of the model in return for a designer's fee.
Normally, the owner is also the designer. That is why we call it a designer's fee.
If you didn't design the model yourself, but want a special designer's page for the person who did, please contact us for permission to set up a designer page for this designer.