Today’s product development-focused teams have the ability to focus on how a product should function rather than how it’s made, an approach that drives greater innovation and pushes the limits of manufacturing. However, this design freedom can’t be realized without enhancing foundational methods with additive technologies and materials.
Speed is a proven benefit of using 3D printing, but fully integrating additive technologies into a product development process has a greater impact than that. More significantly, designers and engineers are released from the constraints of traditional manufacturing and liberated to embrace complexity. This hybridized process results in better products at an accelerated pace.
While price points for hobbyist level 3D printers are attractive, enterprise equipment delivers many times over—all of which easily justifies the investment. If you’re looking to purchase a 3D printing system, the recently announced Stratasys F123 Series of 3D Printers are worth serious consideration. These enterprise level machines provide additional value that justifies the investment through increased capability, efficiency, and reliability, as illustrated by the following features and attributes.
Five Reasons to Invest in Enterprise Equipment //
Highlighting the Stratasys F123 Series of FDM-based 3D Printers
As highlighted in the recently featured white paper available on the FATHOM blog.
Reason NO. 1—Soluble Support for Unlimited Design Possibilities
Certain geometries can’t be 3D printed without material that supports overhanging features and nested assemblies during the build process. Most consumer desktop printers lack support material capabilities for complex geometries like internal cavities and interlocking parts, which limits the design complexities that can be 3D printed. In contrast, the professional Stratasys F123 Series uses a unique and effective soluble support material, enabling more complex designs and fine details that include thinner walls and internal cavities. The hands-free removal process also saves labor, making the rapid prototyping process more productive and efficient.
Controlling the temperature of the “oven”, the enclosed build chamber of an FDM printer, is critical for maintaining design specifications as the part is built. Curl is an inherent behavior of plastic as it cools from a melted state and controlling this characteristic is essential to maintain part quality, particularly for long, flat parts. This is achieved with uniform airflow and complex temperature control throughout the build area.
Desktop printers don’t have controlled build chambers. This limits the type of parts you can build, as well as the consistency of obtaining quality results. Stratasys F123 3D Printers achieve tight temperature uniformity across the build plane, with no “dead spots,” through a highly specialized design of electronics and temperature control algorithms. This allows the creation of large, flat parts that can be printed in a variety of densities from sparse to solid fill modes without the risk of curling.
Reason NO. 3—High Utilization Rates
3D printers used in workgroup settings usually experience high utilization, placing significant demands on the mechanical components. You don’t want your workgroup’s productivity hampered by poor 3D printer reliability, resulting in frequent downtime. Stratasys F123 3D Printers are designed and built for high utilization, using durable components such as:
- Servo motors (vs. stepper motors) that are quieter and more robust for high-torque applications and dynamic load variations during printer operation, providing better control and more precise movement. Most low-priced desktop FDM printers use less expensive stepper motors, which typically produce a high-pitch whine making them bothersome in an office setting.
- Durable motion-control components like linear profiled rails with ball bearings (instead of sleeve bearings). They provide better repeatability and accuracy of the 3D printed part, smoother and quieter operation, greater load-carrying capability and maintenance-free operation. Many low-cost desktop printers don’t use linear profiled rails, lowering the chance of repeatable part accuracy.
Stratasys F123 3D Printers offer multiple features that increase a workgroup’s productivity. GrabCAD Print software enables print queue and multi-tray management, giving your team visibility to each member’s print jobs, the ability to manage the print sequence and prioritize important jobs. The software also imports native CAD files, making it easier and faster to go from CAD model to print. Stratasys F123 user interface touch screens display in 10 languages, offering ease of use across global markets. The user interface on most desktop 3D printers has limited functionality and minimal language options.
Reason NO. 5—3D Printer Longevity
There is value in establishing your rapid prototyping infrastructure on proven technologies by a company with market tenure. 3D printer manufacturers lacking this experience may be here today but gone tomorrow, cutting off access to spare parts, material, and support. The Stratasys F123 Series is a professional 3D printing platform, based on over 25 years of Stratasys experience developing and supporting 3D printers, materials, and customer solutions.
To learn more about the F123 Series of 3D printers, read the Q&A product review with Dylan Oliver. The FATHOM team in Seattle has hands-on experience using the F370 for prototyping and direct digital manufacturing. If you are looking for a system with a larger build tray, more material options, and additional features, check out the Fortus Series product review by FATHOM’s support team. Not big enough? You can also read about the largest FDM system, the Fortus 900mc.
Ready for the next step? Start a conversation about purchasing a 3D printer with a FATHOM account manager today // Request Machine Quote