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The bed can be fixed or moving, depending on the printer model and the technology used to print the object.
For instance, Stereolithography technology, normally presuppose the printer bed to be able to move down during the process, to allow the superposition of thin layers which will eventually form the final product.
Selective laser sintering technology also requires a moving bed, which lowers down each time a new layer is applied on top of the previous one.
On the contrary, with Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), the printer bed only acts as a support base for the object being built during the entire process.
For more exhaustive explanations on the different technologies you can check our section “3D Printers and 3D Printing: Technologies, Processes and Techniques” as well as the different technologies available from our blog article.
The movement precision of the printer bed determines the thickness of the object layers, one of the consequences is that the thinner they are, the smoother curved surfaces will appear.
The size of the printed object depends on the machine dimensions and technology, considering that some objects need “build supports” to provide balance during the printing process, which take place from the printer bed implying the object will forcely be smaller than it could if it was self-balanced.
This is a fundamental aspect Sculpteo focuses on, since we chose a majority of powder base technologies, which do not need to add supports to the object during the process, and allow instead to build sequently one layer on the top of the other, which ends up increasing productivity, which means lower cost for the client, since we can produce more than one object in a single batch this way.
Our website provides a special tool, the Batch Control , to visualize the objects layout configuration.