What file format do I need to process a part for my FDM system?+
The Short Answer: FDM requires an STL file.
The Extended Version: Start with any 3D CAD file: something you designed, downloaded from a sharing site like Thingiverse, or scanned from a physical object. If it's in another file format, use your favorite CAD program to export it as an STL file. When you import the STL file into Mojo Print Wizard, Catalyst or Insight (depending on your 3D printer), the software will use the STL file to calculate the tool path automatically and send instructions to the 3D printer. With Insight Software for Fortus systems, the user has ultimate control over the tool path.
What is the best resolution FDM systems can achieve?+
The Short Answer: The finest resolution, or minimum thickness, is 0.127 mm (0.005 in.).
The Extended Version: Layer thickness options range from 0.127mm (0.005 inches) to 0.508 mm (0.02 inches) and vary by material and 3D printer. Your ideal layer thickness will depend on your part and application. For example, thick layers are ideal for building large manufacturing and parts quickly when surface finish isn't a priority.
What tolerances can FDM parts hold?+
The Short Answer: Tolerances are a function of the system producing the part and the overall size of the part.
The Extended Version: For the Mojo, Dimension, and uPrint systems there is no standard tolerance. Dimensional accuracy will vary based upon part size, geometry, and print orientation. These systems are designed to produce concept models, which don't typically require accuracy down to a few thousandths of an inch.
Fortus 360mc/400mc and Fortus 380mc/450mc produce parts within an accuracy of ± .127 mm (± .005 in.) or ± .0015 mm/mm (± .0015 in/in), whichever is greater.*
Fortus 900mc produces parts within an accuracy of ± .09 mm (± .0035 in.) or ± .0015 mm/mm (± .0015 in/in), whichever is greater.*
*Note: Accuracy is geometry dependent. Achievable accuracy specification is derived from statistical data at 95% dimensional yield.
- Fortus 360mc/400mc Accuracy Study
- Fortus 900mc Accuracy Study
- Rapid Prototyping/Additive Manufacturing Benchmark Reports
Todd Grimm & Associates performed this benchmark study of 3D printer accuracy that is available at tagrimm.com.
What materials work with FDM 3D Printers?+
The Short Answer: FDM Technology uses 12 different thermoplastics.
The Extended Version: Stratasys offers 12 different types of thermoplastics, which are dependent on the 3D printer. Each material has unique properties to fit the need of a variety of applications. For a complete list of materials please see the FDM Materials section of the Stratasys website.
Do FDM 3D printers work with translucent materials?+
The Short Answer: Yes, ABSi and PC-ISO.
The Extended Version: ABSi and PC-ISO translucent materials are great for concept models, functional prototypes and end-use parts. Each works with select Fortus 3D Printers.
Does Stratasys offer FDA approved materials?+
The Short Answer: No, but ABS-M30i, PC-ISO and ULTEM 1010 are 10993 Class VI materials.
The Extended Version: Stratasys offers three ISO 10993 USP Class VI biocompatible materials including ABS-M30i, PC-ISO and ULTEM 1010 resin. However, neither Stratasys nor the raw material manufacturer can approve resins/plastics for specific applications within FDA compliance. It is the responsibility of the finished device manufacturer to determine the end-use suitability through appropriate testing and analysis of all component parts and materials to be used in the finished products.
Does Stratasys offer certified materials for aerospace?+
The Short Answer: Yes, Stratasys offers a certified grade of ULTEM 9085 resin that meets traceability requirements for aerospace.
The Extended Version: In addition to ULTEM 9085 resin, parts built with ULTEM 1010 resin, PC-ABS, and Nylon 12 can be flight certified. It is the responsibility of the end-product manufacturer to determine suitability through appropriate testing and analysis of all parts and materials.
Where can I get a sample or benchmark part?+
The Short Answer: Your local reseller.
The Extended Version: Stratasys resellers are located around the world to help you succeed with a 3D printing solution that fits your company, application and budget. Your reseller can provide samples specific to your application, and may be able to provide sample parts from a CAD file you provide. Find a Reseller.
Where can I get a prototype or small quantity of parts produced without purchasing a 3D printer?+
The Short Answer: Stratasys Direct Manufacturing.
The Extended Version: Access a wide range of traditional and additive manufacturing technologies on demand. Stratasys Direct Manufacturing has a team of experts to support you at every stage of product development and production. And getting a quote for an FDM part is as simple as providing your email address and uploading your 3D CAD file.
Can I print a model with multiple colors?+
The Short Answer: Yes, by manually switching colors during the build process.
The Extended Version: Using Insight software, available only for Fortus 3D Printers, you can add a pause between any two layers of a build. When the 3D printer is paused you can load a canister of a different color and resume building on top of the previous color. All colors must be the same material.
Can I print hollow or partially filled models for cost or weight reduction?+
The Short Answer: Yes, when processing parts in Catalyst or Insight software, you can create sparse internal fill patterns to reduce material use.
The Extended Version: Catalyst software, which comes with uPrint and Dimension 3D Printers, allows you to choose from three fill options: solid, sparse — high density, and sparse — low density.
Insight software, which comes with Fortus 3D Printers, lets you create custom fill patterns to fine–tune weight and density.