Today’s blog covers the User Required Maintenance of the Stratasys Fortus 250mc. At CAPINC we strongly suggest that your team reviews this material, along with additional details and illustrations in the Stratasys User Manual. It is helpful to fully understand the user’s part in the daily maintenance of the printer, in order for it to function at its peak performance capability for many years.
One of the primary benefits of knowing these simple instructions is reducing the amount of downtime that can happen due to user error or maintenance oversight. Your business depends on the Fortus 250 being the workhorse that it is. It’s also important if you’ve added new staff or new users, to share this critical information with them. We have seen many technical issues and problems due to inexperience or lack of information on the part of new users. Even though our technicians are happy to work with you on any problem you may encounter, understanding basic user maintenance will alleviate many frustrations and allow your printer to work consistently.
While every 3D printer requires maintenance, many of the recommendations are basic steps and will be familiar across many of Stratasys printers. Following these specific procedures will ensure the proper operation of the Fortus 250 and will minimize the need for service calls and prolonged down time.
In the Startup Kit received at installation, you should have all the tools necessary for to preform user maintenance. The kit contains replacement parts and tools that are used to maintain the system properly, such as needle nose pliers, 1/8” wrench and 7/64”wrench, gloves, cutters, bronze brush and a magnifier.
Fortus 250 Daily User Maintenance
If you are using the Fortus 250 on a daily basis, this will require daily simple maintenance to keep it functioning. Check the following daily for optimized operation.
1. Inspect The Tip Wipe Assembly
After each build inspect the tip wipe assembly to make sure there is no material build up or wear. If there is material build up or signs of wear, the tip wipe assembly should be cleaned. Material build up on the tip wipe assembly can also cause part quality issues. Reading further down in this blog you will find instructions for replacing the tip wipe assembly.
2. Inspect The Tip Shields
After each build inspect the tip shields for damage or material build up. If there is material building up, remove it completely. If the material will not break free or if the tip shield is damaged, it will need to be replaced. Refer to the instructions below on how to replace the tip shields.
3. Remove Debris Buildup
Remove all material buildup on the Z platform and around the lead screw. Material on the Z platform could cause the base to not be level or the Z platform to jam at its upper limit. This will no doubt cause an error.
4. Vacuum Build Chamber
Vacuum the build chamber after use to remove all debris and purged material that may not have landed in the purge container.
5. Empty The Purge Container After Each Build
The plastic purge container is attached to the inside of the modeling envelope rear wall. Remove the purge container by grasping it and pushing it upward to release it from its mounts. Pull the container towards you and out of the chamber. Make sure to reinstall properly after emptying to avoid damaging the unit.
6. Clean Glass Door
The door glass should be cleaned with a commercial glass cleaner.
500 Hour Maintenance
Preventive Maintenance Alerts will be displayed on your workstation at the 500 hour time interval as a reminder to perform preventive maintenance. One important thing to note, we have found that this alert only pops up once. If you click ok and continue to the build process, the message will not be displayed again. It’s good for your users to notice this alert and contact the printer administrator right away for the necessary parts replacement or service. While it’s not critical to perform these steps at exactly the time the alert pops up, you should do it as soon as possible afterwards. If you have a very long build scheduled, you may want to consider replacing parts before starting the build to ensure proper functionality.
An Alert For The Fortus 250, With Part Numbers For Each.
1. Clean The Fan Filter
After locating the fan filter on the lower rear panel of the printer, remove the frame that secures the fan filter. It simply snaps on and off. Clean the filter with soapy water and blot it dry. Reattach to the rear panel.
2. Replace The Tip Wipe Assembly
It’s important to note that the tip wipe assembly should be replaced approximately every 500 hours, doing so before performing the Tip Cleaning Maintenance. The first step is to completely power down the printer. Move the head to the left to gain access to the tip wipe assembly.
Remove the tip wipe assembly by lifting the assembly up and out of the machine. Discard the old assembly. Place the new tip wipe assembly over the two mounting posts making sure the assembly is fully installed. Once this is complete, power up the printer.
3. Tip Shield Replacement
Tip shields become torn or damaged over time, which can have a negative impact on the model surface finish and details. These should also be replaced about every 500 hours of machine usage time. In this illustration, it’s easy to see the type of damage they can sustain. When this is visible the tip shields need to be replaced as soon as possible.
To replace the tip shields, enter Head Maintenance from the display panel. Select Machine/Head. The head will move to the center of the chamber and the Z platform will change position. This area of the printer will be extremely hot. It’s best to wear gloves when working in this area. Remove the head cover by pressing the tabs in and pulling away from the head.
Position the blade of a small screwdriver between the tip shield and tip plate. Use the blade of the small screwdriver to separate the tip shroud from the tip plate.
Clean the tip using the wire brush supplied with the Startup Kit to remove any debris.
Install a new tip shield by pushing it over the exposed tip, keeping the slotted end toward the back of the head. Tip shield should be flush with the tip plate. Replacing the head cover is essential to proper function of the printer. With the Tip Shield replacement complete, exit Maintenance mode, then press done until back at Idle.
2000 Hour Maintenance
Preventive Maintenance Alerts will again pop up on your workstation at the 2000 hour time interval as a reminder to perform preventive maintenance such as tip change and calibration. As the previous alert, it will only display once and should be noted and maintained as soon as possible.
1. Tip Replacement
Replace Tips at approximately 2000 hours – depending upon your specific operating conditions and volume. Tips can also be damaged by improper care while maintenance is performed in the area around the tips.
To locate the amount of hours on the tips, Control Center displays the tip time (hrs.) – To locate, go to the Services Tab – System Info button. Please note that the tip time will reset to zero after the tips are replaced.
To remove the tips, you will need to make sure the printer is powered ON before replacing. From the display panel select Maintenance, Machine, Tip, then select Replace. The printer display will show Load Model- Unloading. You can now open the printer door and replace the tips – or you can cancel the tip replacement procedure. Remove plastic head cover by squeezing raised pads on sides of cover.
To remove the tips, use 7⁄64” T-Handle Allen wrench to loosen the heater block screws three to four full turns counterclockwise – or until the top of the screws are flush with the metal cover. DO NOT completely remove the screws.
Using needle nose pliers grasp the stainless steel shield of the tip. Pull the tip shield toward you, then pull down to remove the tip from the heater block. Discard the used tip. Repeat for second tip if necessary.
Before installing the new tips, make sure you are using the correct tips for your model. For the Fortus 250, the correct ones are illustrated below.
Making sure to use gloves, insert the new tip into the heater block. Use needle nose pliers to grasp the stainless steel shield of the tip. Pull the tip shield toward you, lift up to install. Push the tip toward the back of the printer once it is all the way up against the heater block. Verify the tip is fully inserted into the heater block and that the stainless steel shield is aligned. Use 7⁄64” T-Handle allen wrench to firmly tighten the heater block clamp screws. Repeat steps for second tip if necessary. Note: Make sure Tip remains all the way up against the heater block as you tighten the screws.
Install a new tip shield by pushing it over the exposed tip, keeping the slotted end toward the back of the head. Tip shield should be flush with the tip plate.
To complete the tip shield installation, replace Plastic Head Cover and close the printer door. The printer will display Tip Maintenance – Tips Replaced? – select YES to begin to load material. The system will then display Load Model – Replace Both Cartridges. You can replace the material cartridge at this point if you need to. If you are not replacing a cartridge, it is necessary to unlatch each cartridge in order to continue. Pressing forward to unlatch, and again, press forward to latch. If this is not done right away, the system will display Both Cartridges Not Replaced or Invalid. In order to continue, select Retry, then unlatch and latch both cartridges. At this time the material will begin to load.
After Material load is complete the printer will display Tip Calibration – Install Modeling Base and Build Calibration Part. NOTE OF CAUTION: Make sure a NEW, UNUSED modeling base is installed before starting calibration. Calibration results will be incorrect if a NEW, UNUSED modeling base is not used.
2. Tip Calibration
The final step in the maintenance is to perform the Tip Calibration. On the display, select Start Part – the system will run two calibration parts. The system will automatically build a Z Calibration part, measure the part and calibrate the Z Axis for tip depth and tip level (this takes approximately 5 minutes). The Z calibration is automatic. The system will then automatically build an XY Calibration part (this takes approximately 10 minutes). It is necessary to inspect the XY Calibration part and calibrate the X and Y axis for tip offset.
When the XY Calibration part is complete the printer will display Remove Part and Select XY Adjustment – X:0, Y:0. Remove the XY tip calibration part from the printer. Inspect the part and calibrate the X and Y axis. Use the magnifier from the Startup kit to view the support road (shown in red).
Identify the location on the +X or –X side of the part where the support road is best centered within the model boundaries (shown in blue). Read the number closest to this location. This is the required X Tip Offset adjustment. If the number is on the -X side, a negative offset is required.
Select Increment or Decrement to input the X offset adjustment – the value will change in the upper display window (as the default, the printer will be ready to accept the X value). When you are satisfied with your X offset value, Select Y and repeat steps A-D to identify and input the required Y Tip Offset adjustment.
Select done after you have input the X and Y offsets. The printer will return to Maintenance. Run the XY calibration a second time to be sure the values changed the offset properly. When finished, press done until back at Idle.
These are basic instructions for managing the regular user maintenance for the Fortus 250. This printer is built to last, and the lifespan of it depends on these instructions being followed consistently and correctly, for the life of the printer. If the user replaces these few parts, correctly and at the right time, this will alleviate costly and lengthy repairs. While we enjoy our visits with you, performing these maintenance steps will minimize the downtime of your printer and the least amount of interruption in your production schedule. Your Supervisor will thank you!
For additional information and even more specific instructions about the use and maintenance of the printer please refer to your Fortus 250 User Guide. We know and trust that our users are more than qualified to complete these maintenance steps, but in the event that any of your staff run into any difficulty, please feel free to contact us, our technicians are standing by to help.