Stratasys-3While metal 3D printing technology is becoming more commonly used in a wide range of industrial applications, it is still a very small segment of the professional 3D printer market. Currently, about 75% of all new 3D printers sold are FDM printers, and quite a few of them are used in business environments. Stratasys’ own Fortus family of commercial FDM 3D printers are among the world’s top selling printers, many of them used in high-production facilities through industries as diverse as consumer products, automotive, aerospace and even medical applications. Stratasys also offers some of the more advanced FDM 3D printing materials on the market, many of them with incredible end-use applications.

Stratasys Nylon 12 3D printing material.

Stratasys Nylon 12 3D printing material.

Unfortunately there is more to 3D printing than just pressing a button and waiting for your finished part to be ready. Not only does printability need to be considered during the design phase, but once a 3D model is ready to be printed a technician needs to carefully orient the model on the build plate in order to maximize the quality of the materials, ensure a quality surface finish and reduce or eliminate the amount of supports that will need to be removed. Unfortunately many 3D printing materials are very different from each other and will react in different ways depending on how they are used.

While the only real way to understand the best way to use a 3D printer and a specific 3D printing material is to practice, experiment and be ready to start over more than once, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t available resources to help new and experienced 3D printers alike make sure that they’re using their 3D printing material in the optimal way. In fact Stratasys itself has begun offering video guides from its Materials Business Unit full of tips and tricks to getting the best possible 3D print no matter which material is being used.

Stratasys ASA 3D printing material is available in ten different colors.

Stratasys ASA 3D printing material is available in ten different colors.

The latest video specifically focuses on the many FDM 3D printing materials offered by Stratasys. It covers the typical applications of each material and includes 6 tips for making sure that the correct material is being used for the correct job. It also covers which materials should be used to make everything from sterilizable medical equipment to end-use products, prototypes and finished industrial parts. In fact, Stratasys has plenty of material options for just about any 3D printing job imaginable.

Flexible Nylon 12 is ideal for parts that click together.

Flexible Nylon 12 is ideal for parts that click together.

The first material covered in the video is ABS-M30, a general purpose plastic that can be used to make everything from high-quality prototypes and concept models to fixtures and tooling. The video moves on to ASA, which offers mechanical strength, UV stability, and a smoother surface finish in ten different colors. Nylon 12 is a strong and semi-flexible engineering-grade plastic with a high chemical resistance, that can be used to print jigs and snap together parts and tools. The video ends on a few tips for using the high-end, high performance plastic ULTEM 9085 and ULTEM 1010 3D printing materials.

The video also mentions the new Fortus 900mc Acceleration Kit with a T40A printing tip. The kit and its advanced tip allows the Fortus 3D printer to produce parts up to three times faster than before. That amount of increased speed is virtually invaluable when using a large-scale 3D printer to manufacture very large parts. Especially if there is a project with a very tight production window. The video also mentions how self-supporting angles can be used on large-scale printers to eliminate the need for removable supports, which can be helpful when producing objects using one of the two available ULTEM materials.

You can watch the entire video here. Would this be helpful for you? Discuss over in the 3D Printing Video Guides from Stratasys forum at 3DPB.com.

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