5 Tips to Improve Build Speed on FDM Machines

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while designing your parts or prepping your files to be printed on a Stratasys FDM 3D printer.

Design and orientation of FDM parts to prevent the need for support material1. If possible, design or orient parts to prevent any 45 degree surfaces.
Surfaces at 45 degrees or more from vertical will require support material

2. Use sparse mode instead of solid where applicable.
This uses less material which means you save money as well. It will also minimize the possibility of models curling off the tray

3. Choose a thicker layer if resolution isn’t a concern
Possible in uPrint SE Plus, all Dimension printers, and all Fortus machines

4. Find out how long a part will take to print:
Catalyst software (uPrint & Dimension)
This is built into the pack view on the right. The total amount of model and support material as well as the time will be listed just above the list of models in the pack.

Insight software (Fortus)
The estimated build time and material is shown after processing by selecting Toolpaths > Estimate time
This is also available in Control Center pack view, the same as in Catalyst (see above).

For both Catalyst and Insight/Control Center the time is approximate and as you add models, it will become increasingly inaccurate. Fortunately, the inaccuracy tends toward overestimating the time, so your build is usually done sooner than you expect.

5. See if anyone else needs a model printed that will fit on the same build tray
If you plan on running a machine overnight, print the models simultaneously. This saves time because the printer needs fewer trips to the purge bucket which adds up on tall models.

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