What are the Stratasys 3D Printing Technologies?

8th November 2021

Stratasys is synonymous with 3D printing. From longstanding FDM printers to new Origin One technology, a wide range of additive manufacturing materials can meet all kinds of demands.

Stratasys printers all deal with plastics but these each differ in form to one another. Some 3D printing technologies build using polymer powders; others use melted thermoplastics. The method of building is what chiefly differentiates the printers themselves, so let’s look at the technologies Stratasys have to offer.

FDM

Fused Deposition Modelling printers use filaments of thermoplastics as their building material. The plastics are fed through heated extruder heads, melting them and allowing them to be built layer-by-layer. FDM printers remain one of the most widely used and reliable 3D printing technologies. Its accessibility and affordability sees it employed for creating jigs and fixtures as well as tooling and high-grade engineering functions.

FDM-made parts are tough and can be resistant to numerous factors. Some thermoplastics are highly resistant to heat and chemicals. Others hold electrostatic dissipative qualities or possess low outgassing which makes them ideal for aerospace applications.

Certain Stratasys FDM printers can use materials like Nylon 12 Carbon Fiber. This thermoplastic contains 35% chopped carbon fibres, granting it a fantastic strength-to-weight ratio. Printed carbon fibre tooling can even replace metal in end-of-arm tools and other direct use applications.

PolyJet

PolyJet excels at creating prototypes, functional concepts, and models in full colour and detail. The technology is a form of the material jetting 3D printing technology. Liquid photopolymers are jetted in fine layers then instantly cured using UV light.

Parts built using this method have excellent detail and surface finish. A 500,000-strong range of colours using VeroVivid means that PolyJet printers close the gap between the design and the reality. Shore values can be varied and even surface texture can be simulated for high-quality testing that closely mimics the end result.

PolyJet 3D printing technologies have brought prototyping and design in house for many companies, simplifying processes and reducing costs and lead times.

Selective Absorption Fusion

SAF is one of several 3D printing technologies that utilise polymer powders. Differing from regular laser sintering, SAF utilises a High Absorbing Fluid (HAF) that is highly sensitive to infrared in order to fuse particles together.

Once the print bed has been coated with powder, the HAF is jetted into selective areas and exposed to IR energy. This heats and melts the powder in that area, fusing it whilst leaving the surrounding powder unchanged.

SAF creates end-use parts with production throughput. This is supported by a convenient side effect in the powder bed forming a supportive ‘cake’ that parts can be nested within. Stratasys Big Wave™ powder management technology ensures that unfused powder is recycled and redistributed, making this method economical and optimised for reliable production.

Programmable Photopolymerisation (P³)

P³ exists amongst resin-based 3D printing technologies. Its focus is mass production of end-used parts, which it achieves using digital light projection (DLP). The Stratasys Origin One utilises this build method alongside a host of supporting technologies to ensure repeatable high-quality builds.

Origin One lowers its build platform into the printer’s resin tank to begin building. As light is projected and layers are cured, the platform is slowly raised until the part is complete. This method can yield highly accurate details less than 50 microns in size with a smooth surface finish.

Origin One has ten industrial resins that create tough parts with properties such as superior elongation break and flexibility, biocompatibility, heat deflection at hundreds of degrees Celsius, and much more. These incredible parts can replace trusted traditional methods such as injection moulding with greater versatility and speed.

3D printing technologies are varied and none present a one-size-fits-all solution. However, with Stratasys, a machine can be found for any application.

SYS UK could help you find your perfect 3D printer today. Get in touch today for a no-obligation chat.

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