The three-dimensional printer company Stratasys of Eden Prairie, Minn., introduced three new 3D printers for rapid prototyping, which company officials say remains a strong use of these printers. They’re integrated with CAD software, so designers can take designs from their software and nto the real world for testing, verification, or even everyday use, says Rich Garrity, president, Stratasys Americas.
He introduced the three printers in the F123 series during SolidWorks World 2017 held this week in Los Angeles. The printers can create engineering-grade parts. They accept up to four different materials, in 10 different colors, to support a wide range of prototyping and tooling applications, Garrity says.
Intended for office use by single worker or groups of workers who are located in the same office or are disparately located anywhere in the world, the machines in the series print about 25 percent faster than other 3D printers on the market “with a fast track that allows you to double the speed from there,” says Zehavit Reisin, vice president and head of rapid prototyping solutions at Stratasys.
“Today there is a vast market opportunity in product prototyping that we feel is not being addressed by current 3D printing systems,” Reisin adds. “The launch of the Stratasys F123 Series targets these product design workgroups, industrial designers, engineers, students, and educators who demand a professional quality rapid prototyping solution that’s simple to use, produces engineering-quality results, integrates within an office or lab setting, and is affordable to own and operate.”
According to recent Stratasys surveys, accessibility, ease of use and material choice are among the top priorities in the wider adoption of 3D printing for rapid prototyping in workgroups, Garrity says.
To print their SolidWorks models, users drop their CAD designs onto the GrabCAD interface included on the machine. GrabCAD, included on the printers, is a free, cloud-based collaboration solution that helps engineering teams manage, view, and share CAD files. The machines also include Insight software, which prepares a CAD program’s STL output for 3D printing, Garrity adds.
“The workflow from SolidWorks to the final part is seamless,” says Jesse Hahne, president of the Center for Advanced Design, an in-house engineering design studio in Lake Elmo, Minn., which was a beta tester for the series. Hahne also spoke at the conference on Monday.
The F123 line replaces the Dimensions and the Fortus250 line of printers from Stratasys, Garrity says.
The F170 printing chamber measures ten inches by ten inches by ten inches and prints in ABS or PLA plastic or in ASA, a production-grade thermoplastic.
The F270 printer chamber measures one foot by ten inches by one foot and also prints in the above materials.
The F370 printer measures 14 inches by ten inches by 14 inches and prints in the three materials and in polycarbonate ABS for stronger, impact-resistant parts.
Most operations are performed using a touch screen user interface. The printers can also be operated remotely from any networked computer in a shared workgroup setting and build progress can be monitored from mobile devices. Installing and replacing material is fast and easy, Hahne says.
In terms of cost, printers start at about $20,000 and can be ordered now, with shipping beginning in March and coordinated through Stratasys network of partners, Garrity says.