Every day, FATHOM helps companies go from concept to consumer in faster and more innovative ways by leveraging our team’s expertise and the cutting-edge technology at hand. To learn more about 3D printing systems and additive manufacturing equipment available, we turn to the FATHOM support team, experts who are passionate about these advanced technologies both personally and professionally. Customer Support Engineer Randall Oglesby, located at our Seattle 3D printing production center, examined two recently released professional-grade 3D printers and highlighted the new features and capabilities.
EXPLORING THE FORTUS 380MC AND 450MC
By Randall Oglesby, Customer Support Engineer at FATHOM
The new Fortus 380mc and 450mc released by Stratasys late last year are the most impressive fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printers I have yet to see. After traveling to the Stratasys Headquarters in Minnesota for training on these new machines, I’ve learned a lot about what sets them apart from the rest. Not only do these 3D production systems offer higher performance, but they are easier to use than ever before. Thanks to a wide variety of material options and faster build times, our customers are building end-use parts in a fraction of the time.
The Dimension series of FDM 3D printers is a great tool to facilitate the design process, but when it comes to producing end-use parts, the relatively limited material options and smaller build trays leave many engineers wanting more. The new Fortus systems offer up to nine production-grade thermoplastics in a variety of colors. The material options include the standard ABS-M30, as well as Polycarbonate, Nylon, and ULTEM (material datasheet). With two new build sizes to choose from, you can print parts up to 16x14x16 inches. The Fortus 380mc and 450mc have also been reprogrammed to operate faster than their predecessors—the heads move faster, and wait times have been reduced to obtain finished parts in less time.
With the Fortus machines, Insight has replaced Catalyst software and allows the user to have greater control of build options. The user controls tool paths, allowing the user to increase strength. The user can also change features such as wall thickness, surface finish, and model interior fill styles and density.
One of my favorite improvements to the new Fortus 3D printers is how Stratasys completely redesigned the way the user interacts with the printer. A large touch screen now displays all the information about what’s going on inside the printer in an easy-to-understand GUI. At a glance, you can now see the progress of your print job, the amount of material you have available, and much more. This addition allows the user to select and prioritize items in the print queue, rearrange models on the build tray, and get all the info you could possibly need regarding tips and material in the machine.
Other improvements to the new Fortus machines include built-in air compressors to minimize the complication of preparing the installation site, permitting greater mobility in the event that the printer needs to be relocated. Also, with the implementation of a new recycling program, material canisters can now be sent back to Stratasys for free to allow for reuse and to lessen your impact on the environment. There are many more design changes and improvements throughout the entire machine that increase the reliability and accuracy. Stratasys has taken a step back and rethought everything, inside and out, leaving customers better off than they were before.