The build time on Additive Manufacturing equipment is a direct correlation of the part height, due to the layering process incorporated.
However, for Stratasys FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) other factors are also involved such as supports, fill density, contour and raster width, etc. For this article, let’s just focus on the support extruding process. Stratasys FDM technology uses 2 separate extrusion tips for independent support and model materials. This means each extrusion tip must deposit both materials individually on each layer as required. This also requires that each layer must spend time wiping the extrusion tips for model material and again for the soluble support material.
We will use the geometry shown right for our example. This part is a door handle which is oriented upright for strength in the holes.
On a Stratasys Fortus 250mc with default settings at .010 inch layers the build time is estimated at 2 hours 52 minutes (shown below).
Using Insight software, select Support, Setup and the Advanced Icon. Check the box “Use model material where possible” and select the check mark at the bottom to apply .
Regenerating the supports will show an improved Build time of 1 hour 51 minutes, saving a little over an hour of build time or a 35% improvement.
Notice the supports are shown in blue, they will now be drawn with model material. By default, there are still 2 layers of soluble support material between the part and the model material being used as support to aid in easy removal.
Note: This is effective on ‘open’ geometry and can create a problem if supports with insoluble material are trapped on the inside of a part, for example internal supports on a bottle.
Application Engineer, Additive Manufacturing/Digital Prototyping
Computer Aided Technology