FDM is one of the most versatile types of 3D printing, with technical applications ranging from prototyping to end-use parts. Like the applications, there are a wide range of types of FDM machines, each fitting a different need. In this blog post, I’ll be highlighting the range of FDM machines, through the lens – pun intended – of a camera.
The basic hobbyist FDM machine is like a video camera. Everyone has an inexpensive video camera. In the past, a small handheld; today, on their smartphone. It works great at capturing personal life events. A FDM equivalent to this is the MakerBot METHOD.
Advanced Hobbyist Machines
An upgrade to the standard camera; invested in when a greater need for filming occurs. Maybe it’s for a child’s sporting event or it’s to see whether filming will become a full-time gig or not. With this camera, there is a greater need for consistency and quality. The FDM equivalent to this is the MakerBot METHOD X.
The next step is for industrial grade; for a professional organization who depends on filming for its business. Even here there is a range, from local news or commercial filming to blockbuster movies and live sports. There comes a dependence on the camera for production, and a greater need for quality and reliability. The most critical aspect is the camera’s availability and repeatability. The FDM equivalent to this range is the F170 to the F900.
So How Do You Know What's Right For You?
Hobbyist printers, like a smart phone camera, are good for personal projects and tinkering. However, they are quickly eclipsed by advanced hobbyist machines from MakerBot.
Makerbot’s leading printer, the METHOD X, offers several upgrades from standard hobbyist printers including:
- Heated Build Chamber – This allows for greater part consistency. By heating the build chamber, the parts adhere better and form stronger bonds. This prevents warpage and failed runs.
- Material Variety – Tough and versatile materials including ABS, Nylon, and ASA.
- Phone Support and Web Support – MakerBot offers phone support for troubleshooting issues and can send out replacement parts to get the printer up and running.
- Online Community – The connection to Thingiverse grants access to education, parts, and groups to help improve knowledge and ability.
From Advanced Hobbyist to Industrial Grade
This is where most companies invest, as throughput, printer uptime, product consistency, and quality are of greater need.
This is demonstrated with the Stratasys F170, including:
- Validated Materials – Stratasys materials are tested and tracked over their lifetime ensuring material property consistency from batch to batch.
- Larger Build Area – A bigger build area of 10 x 10 x 10 inches allows for more versatility and larger parts. Plus, with the printer’s quality control mechanism, large parts are printed accurately the first time.
- Greater Speed and Walk Away Time – Industrial scaled servomotors allow for quicker prints, while increased material spool sizes allow for more material printed in less time.
- Advanced Software – GrabCAD Print allows for simple printing, while also having greater control and customization for users. With GrabCAD Shop, companies can easily manage print coordination.
- In-Person Support and Training – A network of dedicated field service teams support the printer, certifying up-time and function.
Meet Hudson Romain
Meet Sales Engineer, Hudson Romain. Hudson strives to find innovative solutions for designers, manufacturers, and engineers working in every industry. Hudson always brings a positive attitude and sound advice. His favorite part about working at Purple Platypus is that he gets to work with people in unique industries, from toys to aerospace.
Out of the office, Hudson enjoys tinkering with engines and circuit boards, playing beach volleyball, and hanging out with friends. If you haven’t had the chance to meet Hudson, be sure to connect with him on LinkedIn!