The Stratasys Fortus 450mc comes with a lot of features. From the new overall design to the touchscreen user interface, the Fortus 450mc has made running the production-grade machine easy to run. In this blog we take an in depth look at the user interface and the corresponding steps for changing the material and tips, to help you maintain and run your 3D printer efficiently.
In order to run any maintenance on the machine, you should get familiar with the touchscreen interface. Below is the Build screen, which is usually the default screen filled with a lot of information on it. I want to break down the areas that are important to our material and tip change process, going from top to bottom. First is the status bar.
The icon to the right of the Stratasys logo that looks like a gauge represents the vacuum. This image is showing that we have good vacuum pressure within the printing chamber and our build sheet is secure. If for some reason our vacuum was not working the image would look have a red X on top of the gauge.
The next area of the touchscreen user interface that pertains to the material and tip change are the material bays. This is going to tell us what is currently loaded and where it is. This will also show us the tips currently being used.
In the example image you can see that each bay has a canister within in. The white boarder around one of the bays indicates that the material in that bay is loaded and ready to build. The same holds true for the tips. Notice that Model May 1 (M1) is highlighted and ready to print while Model Bay 2 (M2) has a canister within it, but is not highlighted or loaded. You can also see that Support Bay 1 (S1) is also highlighted and loaded with SR30 support material and is ready to run.
If you insert that wrong canister the error will appear within this bar section. If the firmware detects the presence of the wrong filament it will flash red.
Once you have the right filament the icon will turn orange to let you know that the filament is ready to be loaded.
The next part of the touchscreen we need to look at is the bottom task bar on the Fortus 450mc touchscreen, specifically the Tips section.
Pressing the Tips options will open a new window to help you with the tip and material change.
Again you see a substantial amount of information on the touchscreen. This is a more graphical representation from the bar I originally showed you. It shows all four bays and the material inside them. It also shows which materials are loaded up to the head. From here we can manually load and unload the filament by using the arrows above each material if needed. The three buttons on the bottom (from left to right) represent “Tip Change Wizard”, “Tip Maintenance”, and the “Tip Wipe Wizard”. We are going to be using the Tip Change Wizard on the left side. This is where the tip and material changing takes place.
Once you enter the Tip Change Wizard, you will first need to select the material you will be changing to. All materials that your Fortus 450mc can run are on this list. Simply press the desired material and click the right arrow below the list to move onto the next step. In this example we have ABS-M30 loaded, but we want to change over to Nylon12.
Next it will ask you about the tip you would like to use with the material. Not all materials can achieve the same resolution. Based on the material you choose a list of tip sizes will come appear. As you can see Nylon12 cannot print at .005 resolution, thus T10 is not on the selection list.
Continue with the next arrow to select your Support Material and Support Tip. Once you make your selections the final screen will appear for confirmation. This is the last chance to go back and make different selections. If you made a mistake just use the back arrow and fix what you need. When you are ready to move on, click the forward arrow confirming your choices.
This screen is going to let you know that the Platen is about to be moved about half way up. Enough so you can clean and vacuum underneath. I want to stress how important this is, especially if you are going to be running a higher temperature material. For example, suppose your changing from ABS-M30 to ULTEM9085. If you have any debris of that M30 on the bottom of the chamber and you begin to run ULTEM, all of that debris is going to melt in place. It is a very smart idea to clean up before you run new material.
This interface really takes you through step-by-step and makes sure you do not miss anything. This screen explains exactly the steps you need to take to make sure your oven is clean. When these steps are finished the material will begin to unload. A timer will come up on the screen to let you know how long it will take to unload the material and support. Once that is finished the touchscreen will let you know that it is about to move the head to a service location.
After the head moves to a service location the Replace Tips screen appears. This has a list of 7 steps on how to replace the tips in the Fortus 450mc. It is all straight forward and gives the order of steps. It includes the tip, its size, and the amount of time used on that tip, listed under step four. Log that information and keep it with the tips for when you use the tips again.
NOTE: There are a lot of sensors with in the Fortus 450mc. If the top is open or the door is not closed you will not be able to proceed, the next arrow will not be active.
Now that your new tips are installed you can select the next arrow, which brings you to the Tip Odometer.
Enter the time used for the tips you are installing in the tip odometer, which you have logged from previous uses. Once this information is entered just click the next arrow to prepare for the tip calibration. The interface has a few steps to follow before you can start the calibration.
In order to start your calibration you need to have your canisters installed and a new tray on the Platen. To install your canisters, select the canister type on the next. This is handy when you fill both bays with the same type of material and want to use one with less material first. In the example below we see both Model Bays have ABS-30 and both Support Bays have SR-30. M1 has 65.4 cui of material while M2 only has 12.3 cui. It’s on this screen I can select which canister to use first. In the example below I would select my M2 bay first to use up the material. Even if my build required 42.3 cui of material M2 would get used up first then the printer would automatically load M1 and continue the print.
Another great feature of this interface is with part placement. Before you start a job a screen will come up showing the platen and a silhouette of your part. The default is in the center of the tray but you can move it anywhere you like. In this example I want my calibration to run in the upper left side of the tray so I can have extra room for another calibration or even to make parts.
Once your calibration is finished you will be asked to remove the part and make any adjustments. These adjustments are made using a slider instead of entering in the numbers.
Once these calibrations are set you can rerun the calibration if needed or start printing your part.