3D printer maker Stratasys expands automated support-removal process for polycarbonat

Low-labour process speeds up prototyping and production of polycarbonate parts

FRANKFURT – 29th November 2011 – (NASDAQ: SSYS) Stratasys says it will expand its WaterWorks soluble support material to be compatible with its polycarbonate build material (PC-10) for its Fortus 3D Production Systems.

Previously, WaterWorks soluble support material was available exclusively for the company’s ABS-based material formulations.

The soluble support material – SR-100 – allows automated, hands-free removal, resulting in more efficient prototype and part production. SR-100 soluble support material will also enable a finer layer thickness. By combining PC-10 build material with SR-100, users can now produce parts in 0.005 in. (0.127mm) layers, for finer feature detail and smoother surface finish. This layer thickness setting was previously unavailable for PC-10.

Beta test user Joe Gibbs Racing previously used PC-ABS because it was the strongest material that could be coupled with soluble supports. Combining the SR-100 soluble support structure with polycarbonate build material allows JGR to use the more robust polycarbonate. This enables JGR to use its Fortus machine for more applications, giving it a faster return on investment.

JGR Design Engineer Brian Levy says he likes the superior mechanical properties of polycarbonate. The team makes a polycarbonate filter component with the FDM process, using the PC-100 soluble supports.

“The soluble material is more efficient to remove than the old break-away supports, so we’re now using polycarbonate regularly,” Levy says. “All of our cars have the PC filter component, and they use them every week.”

The soluble support material eliminates the process of manual removal with hand tools. The dissolved support material is washed away in a solution of heated-water and cleaning agent. It can take as little as 30-120 minutes to dissolve an SR-100 support structure in an agitation or ultrasonic tank.

The SR-100 soluble support material will be available for the Fortus 360mc, Fortus 400mc, Fortus900mc, Fortus eV and Fortus eT systems. SR-100 is expected to ship in Q1 2012.


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