It’s Monday morning and you just got to work. You’re eager to see how your 50 hour build came out in the Fortus machine. As you get to the printer, you find yourself staring at a 50 hour build that stopped 40 hours into the job. You realize at some point over the weekend the building lost power. A loss of power to any 3D printer usually means you lose your print job. This situation is always at the wrong time. You were planning a meeting around this part and it was crucial to keeping the project on track. Now you are at the anger-stage, just staring at the machine. You start hoping today will be the day the Zombie apocalypse starts so you’ll have other, more important things to worry about. Have no fear, you can save the part.
Depending on where the build started, it may be very simple to fix. You can’t start printing on the same job, nor should you want to. The reason being, it would be hard to line up the next layer within a thousandths of an inch in both X and Y axis. What you can do is go into your Insight Software and delete what was already built. Then, on an empty build tray, start the build for the rest of your model. By printing out the unfinished section, you can now glue your two sections together to complete the part.
To the left is a stopped build example. We were lucky because it stopped when it was building a feature. Looking at this feature closely you can count the layers to get a good idea of what layer the build stopped at. Looking at the picture below you can actually count the number of layers. There’s about 9 layers of the end face of the post.
The other way of figuring out where the build stopped is simply by measuring the height of the build. This is also a very accurate way of finding the layer it stopped on. This process depends on what measurement tools you have on hand.
Now that we know what layer we stopped at we can go to the Insight software and section off the rest of the part that needs to be built. Looking at the ruler I can see it stopped at about 9.38 inches.
In Insight you can open the .SJB file (Stratasys Job file), located in the SSYS (Stratasys System folder) in the STL file directory. Once you have it open, you can enter the height measured in the Z-height box. This will take you to that layer. Looking at the close-up photo you can fine-tune the layer it by stepping up or down through the file. Now that you have found the layer in Insight, you can mark this as the top of my range. You do this by clicking the Range Top button. You can see the layer height is now the top of our range height. At this point you could type zero in to the bottom range box, or step down to the bottom layer and click the Bottom Range button to input the 0 dimension.
When you click the View Range button it will show everything that was previously built. This is the section that you need to delete. To do that, select the Delete tool and select all the visible layers, then click OK. When you click the View All Layers button we can see the top of our model.
Now you just need to bring the model down to the plate, using the Move, Copy, Rotate tool. What you are really doing is moving the part to the origin so you select move to origin. We also tell it we do not want to keep the original. Select all the layers and hit the OK button.
You can now reprocess the support and tool paths and you are ready to print the rest of your model. If you have questions about gluing the parts back together you can refer to my previous blog about bonding force.
This won’t work in every situation, and it really depends on the geometry of your model, but this method can really save you some time and money when you run into this situation.