I recently received a 4:30 p.m. distress call from a customer. He runs a small service bureau using only Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) machines. He was really hoping to deliver a 3D prototype the following day to impress his new customer, but the green flag (default) run time was 36 hours and 11 minutes.
The part was basically a large, thin-walled container. Naturally, he chose to orient it with the cavity upward to avoid filling it with support, but a thin rim around the top still needed support. Within a few minutes on the phone, I helped him cut the run time down to 30 hours and 42 minutes using custom groups and modifying the support. It still was not enough.
As we continued chatting, we had one more idea we wanted to try, just to cover all the options. Even though it seemed counterproductive, we tried flipping the part over, which would mean filling the entire cavity with support. But this orientation offered more freedom to modify the big block of support using custom groups. Combine that with and an all contour fill pattern, and our new run time was 21 hours and 29 minutes!
Just to recap: In a first few minutes, we cut the run time by 15 percent. By the end of the call, still well before 5 p.m., we reduced the run time by almost 41 percent from the default.
This let the customer build the 3D prototype overnight and deliver it by the end of the next business day. Even though this service bureau has had FDM machines for years, he realized the importance of continuing to develop his knowledge of the Stratasys Insight software.
Best of all, this advanced knowledge is available to all U.S. Fortus users in the training course Beyond the Green Flag. Ask your reseller or Stratasys representative how you can participate in this training — I've seen how it can surprise customers.