A fast, general purpose plastic material ideally suited for industrial applications. The FabPro’s precision printing in this opaque gray material highlights fine features and is ready for finishing and painting, perfect for high quality prototypes and models.
Part Quality and Accuracy Tips
In order to achieve good accuracy with PROTO GRY it is important to follow the part setup instructions below for orientation and supports. Some other key tips are as follows:
- Use orientation to minimize large cross sections areas.
- Before each build, make sure there is no debris stuck to the film, nor floating around in the tray. If debris is suspected to be present, filter the debris out using a thin wire mesh material by pouring the material from the tray into the original material bottle or a glass jar. Clean tray as needed and inspect the film for damage before pouring material back in the tray.
- Follow and apply accuracy wizard procedure for each printer to get highest accuracy parts.
- For best results use the Resin Mixer to gently stir between prints and after the resin has been sitting overnight.
CAUTION: Do NOT press down on the film when stirring.
- Verify proper cleaning method. Insure cleaning solvents are not saturated and parts are allowed to dry before post cure.
Part orientation is the first critical setup function before slicing a part in 3DSprint™. The part orientation must consider several features before adding supports to the part. The optimal orientation may not be intuitive at first, but the orientation is based on the premise of printing on a 3D printer one layer at a time. The goal of this document is to allow the customer to build that orientation skill and intuition.
Tip 1 - Identify No Support Surfaces-
The first thing to consider for a part is to determine what surfaces or features should NOT have a support.
NOTE: In 3DSprint™for FabPro™, this will be surfaces facing AWAY from the print platform or ‘floor’ (checker board plane in the illustration below) of 3DSprint™. Thus, surfaces such as datums, textured surfaces, and outer cover surfaces should be oriented for no supports.
|Figure 1. Initial part orientation in 3DSprint™|
Tip 2 - Large Cross Sectional Area
To get the best surface quality and accurate part, minimizing the cross sectional area is very important. Use the Transform function in 3DSprint™to rotate the part such that it satisfies Tip 1 and Tip 2.
NOTE: It is also useful to use the View window to click on the Top Left triangle of Z in the Clipping section. This will create a plan that can be moved up and down in Z to view the slice image of the layer being printed. In other words, what is seen in Red is what is being printed in that layer.
|Figure 2. Initial part orientation and View window in 3DSprint™|
|Figure 3. Cross section area view in XY plane using Z-axis clipping in View. Red denotes the layer information.|
To see the large cross sectional area for this part, move the blue plane down. This is a large cross section that would be better printed in an angular rotated orientation. Note a Large Cross Section can be considered to be a cross section that is greater than a 20x10mm or 8x30mm area. This should be defined as being in a local area and not the full area of the layer. The figure shows an area that has four large cross sectional local areas.
|Figure 4. Large cross sectional area. Shows four sides with approximate 10x30mm cross sectional areas.|
Continue to move the blue plane up and down along the Z-axis to identify the large cross section areas in the part. The area below shows a part that is approximately 8x35mm in two local areas.
|Figure 5. Large cross sectional area. Shows two areas with approximate 8x35mm cross sectional areas.|
Tip 3 – Critical Feature Orientation
A critical feature is a feature for which you would prefer minimal or no supports, such as a screw boss, snap, or other critical geometry. On the part in this example, there is a screw boss on one side of the part. For these features, it is optimal to rotate the part so they are facing away from the print platform.
NOTE: These surfaces may have minimal supports (minimal meaning <5), but not in such a way the support interferes with the critical function of the feature. Note manual editing may also be required on these features.
Enable Tip 1, Tip 2, and Tip 3 – Once considering the items described in Tips 1-3, the part can be oriented. The Transform window in 3DSprint™can be used to orient the part back 45-degrees toward the Y-axis. Note the change in cross section being printed on this layer compared to the orientation in Figure 5. The following images show the considerations from Tip 1-3.
|Figure 6. Re-oriented part after following Tip 1 for no support surface.|
|Figure 7. Re-oriented part after following Tip 2 for small cross sectional area.|
|Figure 8. Re-oriented part after following Tip 3 for feature location.|
Tip 4 – Minimizing Supports Using Self Supporting Orientation
Before adding supports, it is important to orient the parts to be self-supporting. This includes orienting the part such that larger sections of the part are at approximately 45° relative to the print platform. Consider the example in Figures 9 and 10 below, where large, straight edges have been oriented 45° from the print platform.
|Figure 9. Top of center hole is parallel to the print platform.|
|Figure 10. Top of center hole is now at a self supporting angle to the print platform.|
The part in the image below is now ready to add supports. It has used the following information to optimally orient the part:
Tip 1 - Identify No Support Surfaces – Cover area has been considered and no supports are on top surfaces of the part. There is minimal supports on the side of the outer surface wall.
Tip 2 - Large Cross Sectional Area – The large cross sectional areas were identified and have been optimized.
Tip 3 – Critical Feature Orientation – The critical features of the large holes and screw boss have been oriented for minimal supports.
Tip 4 – Minimizing Supports Using Self Supporting Orientation – The final orientation moves the part such that it minimized edges parallel to the print platform.
|Figure 11. Final orientation after following Tips 1-4.|
Supporting the part is another critical function for getting successful accurate parts. Once the part has been optimized for orientation, then the supports can be added. TOUGH BLK print material has two default support styles which have been optimized for that particular material. These support styles are fZlat and Tilted. The Flat and Tilted refer to the part orientation. Sometimes a part will need to be printed in a flat orientation and, thus, the supports are optimized for that; it is likewise for a tilted part.
Tip - 1 Flat Supports
The Flat supports are designed to be conservative in that they will cover a large span of geometries. This will also lead to the need to manually remove some supports before printing. The following is an example of a flat part and the manual editing of the supports. It is printed flat in order to optimize the round sections of the part.
|Figure 12. Part in flat orientation.|
Go to Smart Supports and select the Flat support style to generate the default supports.
|Figure 13. Part in flat orientation with default supports.|
Rotate the part to see the bottom view and the threads of the part. In most cases, screw threads do not need any supports.
|Figure 14. Due to the geometry and the conservative approach for the Flat supports, there will be areas that require manually removing some anchor points to prevent excess support scarring.|
Go to the Modify tab to manually remove anchor points. It is important to maintain anchor points in areas as shown below to get the most accurate part. This includes properly supporting large radii on the bottom and inside of the top of a hole.
|Figure 15. Modified anchor points using support tools.|
|Figure 16. Anchor points are removed from threads on part.|
Tip-2 Tilted Supports
The Tilted supports are designed to be conservative in that they will cover a large span of geometries. This will also lead to the need to manually remove some supports before printing. The following is an example of a tilted part and the manual editing of the supports. It is printed in a tilted orientation in order to optimize the flat surfaces of the part.
|Figure 17. Part in tilted orientation.|
|Figure 18. Part in tilted orientation with default supports.|
Go to the Modify tab and rotate the part to check for excess anchor points. One signal for too many anchor points is a line of supports on a flat functional wall. It is optimal to have fewer supports on a functional surface to reduce the post processing of the part.
|Figure 19. Note lines of anchor points on functional wall surface.|
However, it is necessary to know the bottom side of the part as it may need the excess supports to maintain the flatness of the part.
|Figure 20. The bottom side of the part has full sharp edge anchor points as well as some infill anchor points to maintain a flat part bottom.|
Go to the Modify tab to manually remove excess anchor points. It is important to maintain anchor points in areas as shown below to get the most accurate part. This includes properly supporting large radii on the bottom and inside of the top of a hole.
|Figure 20. Anchor points are optimized on the functional wall without sacrificing part accuracy.|