Stratasys 3D Printer Build Volumes Deconstructed [Fortus 900mc Crowned King]
How does your printer volume compare to its cohorts? With a serious flair of practicality, we thought it would be helpful to deconstruct the build volumes for a fleet of Stratasys 3D printers. As one would expect, not all Stratasys machines are created equal, especially regarding their build volumes. Build volume, derived from the build envelope, is the available space inside of the 3D printer to print parts. This cube-shaped space, or volume, inside the printer is also known as the build chamber. Another term to define is the “build envelope” which is based on the X, Y, and Z dimensional space available. The X and Y area is set by the size of the build tray, also known as the base (or modeling base).
Knowing the available volume of the build envelope is critical as it sets the boundary conditions for the available size of the desired prints. When building parts, one must always ensure an adequate volume; with both model/support material (filament available) and build space (build chamber volume). The nature of parts you need to print, e.g., a warehouse robot vs. sunglasses will dictate what build volume is required. Seeing as there are many options, we broke down the main fleet of workhorse FDM 3D printers offered by Stratasys.
Notice how the dimension series machines, and the Fortus 360mc, were actually named after the build volume. Did you know that? Knowing the build envelope will ensure the optimal choice of printer for your application.
Depending on the project, there may be times when your printer will not have a large enough build chamber to print the part in one piece. It is at this critical point that you will need to be armed with build chamber dimensions because, and this is likely the only option, the part will need to cut into the appropriate size. Once the parts are printed it can be glued together, ABS glues exceptionally well, and if you need it to look professional one can perform the beloved acetone vapor finish.
In some instances, there will not be enough filament available to finish the print, for this you can change the spool of material during the print, if the operator is around, or you can always change it before the print starts.
The Fortus series machines (excluding the 250mc) utilize the larger spools, 92 ci which makes sense since they have much larger build volumes. In fact, the build volumes of these machines warrants an even larger spool than the 92ci. Also available are the double volume spool sizes, 184ci, that fits the Fortus 900mc, Fortus 400mc, and Fortus 360mc. Using these larger spools enables the operator to make it through large prints, or at the very least switch the spool half as much. Another feature of these larger series machines is that they have dual model and support spool capacity, so they fit two spools of model and two of support, versus the dimension series that only come with one of the smaller 56ci spool of each model and support.