The purpose of this page is to guide you through the use of a
Stratasys 1650 fused deposition modeling machine (FDM), which is a type of 3D
printer or rapid prototyper.
Caution: Do Not Steal Another's Intellectual
The rapid prototypers in this lab may not be used to "steal" the
intellectual properties of others. Please only build objects that are not
the intellectual property of others, unless you have the owner's written
A1. Make sure you have received instruction on the use of
this FDM. If you have any questions, ask an instructor.
A2. Wear safety glasses in the lab.
A3. Avoid burns. The extruder head and recently extruded
plastic can be hot. Do not let them contact your skin.
A4. Do not place any material other than an approved 3D
printer filament into the extrusion head.
A5. This device typically uses ABS model material and ABS
support material. That support material is not soluble in a support removal
solution, and instead must be mechanically removed with pliers and other
B. Setting the Temperature
B1. There is a reference manual
on the FDM that must stay with the machine in Room AT 136. Please refer
to it as needed.
B2. With safety glasses on, log in to the computer system.
B3. Turn on the FDM
1650 by pressing
the white Start button. This turns on the heating elements.
B4. Check the three temperature
indicators on the FDM. They indicate the set and actual temperatures of
the build material, the support material, and the modeling area or envelope,
in degrees centigrade. For modeling with ivory-colored ABS, the recommended settings
are as follows:
Support Material: 265
Please note that other materials use other settings. Clear
ABS often uses 260.
The proper temperatures are
probably already set, you just have to wait for the actual temperatures
to reach the set temperatures. The machine will take a few minutes to reach
operating temperatures, so you can go back to the computer to work on your
C. Special notes about making and manipulating
C1. In order to keep
the FDM computer available for building models, you should use a different
computer for model creation and manipulation, unless there is no demand
by others to use the FDM computer.
C2. It is possible to use
a variety of sources of 3D models, including the following: downloading
3D models from the Internet, scanning objects with a 3D scanner, or using
software such as Unigraphics, Pro Engineer, Rhino, or 3D Studio to create
or modify 3D models.
C3. In order for a 3D model
to work with the FDM, it should be based on solids or on polyhedral meshes.
That is, objects that are "filled" on the inside, and those that are just
complete hollow shells (like an egg) will work. However a model that is
made up of two-dimensional elements (like a mobius strip) will not work.
Nor will complex 3D (scanned) polyhedra or meshes if they have holes, or
if there are overlapping triangles.
C4. The model must be exported
or saved as an stl file.
C5. Some instructors require
their students to use specified file-naming conventions, and have created
directories on the D:\ drive for class files. If that is the case, copy
your file from your Zip disk (or other source) to the appropriate directory.
D. Model Scale, Orientation, Slicing, Supports, and
D1. Open the Insight program.
(This software replaces the previous program, known as Quickslice.) Version 4.2
works with the old FDM 1650. If you have opened Version 6, do not expect it to
communicate with the FDM. Please be aware that there is another software package
in this lab also called "Insight," but it instead is used to connect the
different computers and the tv monitors, not to run a rapid prototyping
A note about Insight:
Insight is Stratasys'
program that lets you import stl files. There are minimal
file manipulation tools, but it does let you reorient the model and scale
it. An inputted stl file is then used to create a series
of horizontal cross sections at a set Z interval. For modeling with ABS,
this interval is 0.010".
Models are built out of a "build" or "model" material,
but to support higher layers of this model material, a "support" material
is typically laid down first. After creating support material, there toolpaths
must be generated for the support and build extruding heads to follow as
they create the part. These toolpaths are also called "roads."
For beginning modelers, Insight
should be used to reorient the model (to decrease build time), to scale
the model, to generate the slices (slc) and toolpaths (sml) files, and to give the operator
information about the build time and material requirements. Fortunately,
much of this can be done automatically.
D2. In Insight, click "File,"
"Open," and browse to find your stl file to load; it is probably not on
the default C:\ drive. If a dialog box reports that the part is oversized,
ignore it; you can re-scale the part within Insight.
D3. On the right of the screen
the "Modeler Setup" box will indicate the configuration. For typical operation
with ABS plastic, this should indicate
|Part fill style
|Part interior style
D4. Reorient your
model so that the support material required and the and build time are
minimized. There are some applications where part finish or other factors
affect orientation decisions. To reorient the model, click "STL", "Rotate."
Use the dialog boxes at the right to specify the rotation amount and direction.
Repeat, as necessary. Even though your model might appear on the screen
in the front, left of the build platform, you will be able to relocate
it to any other suitable location after it is sent to the FDM, and the
model should not be moved at this time, except to facilitate multiple model
loading. (There is also an Automatic Orientation feature you may wish to
use to, say, minimize supports.)
D5. Scale your model,
if appropriate. FDM material is very expensive, and large models take a
very long time to build. Select "STL," "Units and Scale." You may use the
values in the pull down window beside "STL scale," or type in your own
factor. You may not notice a change in your object, but the size of the
surrounding box might seem to change. The build envelope is a 10" cube,
and the box on the screen around your object represents this envelope.
Note the "STL size" readout in the "STL Units and Scale" dialog box.
|D6. Slice your virtual model by
selecting the "Slice" icon.
|D7. Generate supports
by selecting the "Support" icon
|D8. Create toolpaths
by selecting the "Toolpaths" icon.
|D9. It's a good idea to then click "File,
Save" to save your toolpaths file
E. FDM 1650 Prep
E1. Back at the FDM, check
to see if there is enough space on the foam build platform for your model.
If there is not enough room, replace the foam.
E2. If it is necessary to replace
a. Open the FDM
front door. Watch where you put your hands; avoid getting burnt.
b. Flip the locking lever
on the front, left of the build platform.
c. Pull the build platform
forward, removing it from the FDM.
d. Close the FDM door.
e. Place the build platform
on a table, and remove all 10 pins and the foam insert.
f. Remove any foreign materials
from the build platform.
g. Flip the foam over, or
if the underneath face was already used, select a new piece of foam. Note
that the brown urethane foam is designed for ABS and the blue polystyrene
foam is designed for investment casting wax (ICW).
h. Place the foam into the
platform so it is seated firmly. This might require shearing part of the
edge of the foam.
i. Invert the build platform
so the foam is against a table.
j. Pressing down firmly on
the platform, replace all 10 pins.
k. Blow off any debris, and
replace the build platform in the FDM, securing the locking lever and closing
E3. Check to see of the three
temperature readings are sufficient.
E4. Check the Auto Shut Off
status, and change it appropriately by depressing the Auto SO key on the
FDM. If you will be the last to build a model for the day, turn Auto SO
on; if another model will be built right after yours, leave it off.
E5. Extrude a bit of plastic from each head, to make sure
there is no problem. To do this, toggle the Model/Support button until it the
display reads Model. Then press the Load button once. In five to ten seconds you
should see a strand exiting the model head. Press the Load button again to
cancel the load. (Whatever you do, do not press the Unload button, as this backs
the material out of the head.) Then press Model/Support to toggle to the support
material and repeat. If plastic was extruded from both heads, then all you need
do is brush off the plastic from the heads, and make sure the platform and rear
brass brush are clear of debris. If one of the heads did not extrude plastic, or
if there was an error message, please let the lab supervisor know.
E6. Notice the button on
near the top, center of the FDM that says "Prgm 0" above it and "Pause"
below it. Let's call this the Pause Button. If this button has a flashing
amber light, press that button now to turn off the light. If the light
is on, the FDM cannot receive information from the computer.
F. Building a Model
F1. Back in Insight, click
the "Build" icon. In the "Pack and Download" dialog box, copy the following
information to your notes:
- Estimated Model Material to be used:
- Estimated Support Material to be used
- Total time estimate:
Also, make a note of the present date and time and of the
date and time when the job should finish.
F2. Click the icon
to send the job to the modeler. (If you had wanted to send multiple copies to
the FDM to be built simultaneously, you would have indicated so in this dialog
F3. The Pause Button light
should be flashing; press it to turn it off. This will cause the FDM to
run through initialization routines, extruding support material and wiping
the tips. When it is done, the light will come on again.
F4. Use the directional keys
on the FDM to move the head in the XY plane, or the platform in the Z axis.
Pressing the center key along with another key invokes a faster mode. There
is also a toggle button so that the up/down keys can be control both the
Y and Z axes. If necessary, lower the platform, open the door, and use
the brass brush to gently clean the extruding tips. Be sure to also remove
excess material from the inverted brush in the machine and from other areas
in the machine and close the door. Reposition the left "build material"
tip so that it is at the front, left of the rectangle where you wish the
build to occur. Try to get the tip so it is barely touching the foam, neither
embedded in it, nor above it.
F5. Press the Pause Button
F6. Fill out the machine log. In particular, note the time, the amount of material required, and estimate
the approximate time of completion. If you have used any filament or temperature
settings other than what is listed on this page, be sure to indicate this in
the log sheet.
F7. Turn off the computer's monitor. Since an active serial cable
connection is required for the build to continue, other applications on that
computer might interfere with the build. It is a good idea, therefore, to avoid
using the computer for anything else during building.
G. Model Removal and Post-Processing
G1. Return when the model
is almost finished, or if its an overnight build, then return as soon as
the lab opens in the morning. Put on your safety glasses again.
G2. Make sure your files
are stored in the appropriate place for your class.
G3. When the model is done
building, the head will go to the home position, the Pause Button light
will flash, and the FDM display will show "100%". Open the door and gently
remove your model. You might wish to remove the build platform to make
this easier (especially for large models), but replace the platform when
you are done. A fingernail may be used to remove the model from the foam.
Close the door.
G4. If no other user is about
to build a model, log off of the computer, and turn off the computer, the
monitor, and the FDM. The fan in the FDM will probably still operate for
G5. Make sure your entry in the machine log is accurate and
G6. With safety glasses on, carefully remove the
support material from your model so you do not injure yourself or the model.
Recommended tools for this are needle nose pliers, tweezers, and maybe
a small screwdriver, and an X-Acto knife. If necessary, sand the model
very lightly. Clean the FDM and, if necessary, finish your model. Be careful to
avoid cutting yourself, to avoid breaking the model or a knife, and to protect
your eyes from flying debris. Make sure others around you have eye protection.
Please place all trash into the trash receptacle.
Do not attempt to remove
supports by using the sodium hydroxide bath in the support removal apparatus that we use for our
uPrint machines. It will not work on the support that is typically used
in the Stratasys FDM 1650.