3D printing has become a rapid and cost-effective solution for many instances in our everyday lives. TriMech was able to deliver 3D printed rover kits, under a tight turnaround, due to the speed and affordability of printing parts on the Stratasys H350 SAF powder bed 3D printer.
ENVISION: STEM Career Day Supporting Young Women helps girls and young women see themselves in the STEM fields. Open to all students who are currently in grades 6 to 12. Envision attendees listen to inspiring experts in the STEM world talk about their specialties and share successful stories that may help young women find their interests in different fields of science technology engineering and mathematics.
At the Envision event, young women have a unique opportunity to not only learn about 3D printing from experts at TriMech but walk away with printed and assembled models as well. Thanks to Stratasys, who printed and donated the rovers for the event, participants got a hands-on experience assembling a fully 3D printed mars rover off of the Stratasys H350 powder bed 3D printer with Selective Absorption Fusion (SAF) technology in PA11, a nylon-based material.
The team had a unique dilemma of needing parts in a tight time frame. That ultimately led TriMech to believe the H350 powder bed printer was the optimal solution to meet and exceed their needs. The crisis came into play that the event was two weeks away, and 30 sets of 13 parts for the Mars rover model were required to be printed and in the hands of participants, ready to be assembled and customized.
The variables brought up within this scenario include speed, accuracy, consistency, durability, and of course, cost.
The SAF powder bed Solution
3D printing with the H350 powder bed printer, we notice a major difference in cost and time. In comparison and for example, if you were to use a Fortus 450 FDM printer, one set would end up taking approximately 4.5 hours and cost roughly $90. In total that’s 135 hours (approximately 5.5 days) of nonstop printing just to get all sets printed, not including support removal or any room for error.
However, with the H350, all 30 sets of parts (390 pieces) would be printed in 10.5 hours with a 14% packing density, costing roughly $19 a set. The parts would then naturally cool for 24 hours and now be ready to be de-powdered and bead blasted. In conclusion SAF PA11 was a no brainer for this specific instance, printing in 13% of the time as FDM at 20% of the cost.
The design of the rover was created to allow the user to assemble with no required tools, screws or any other exterior equipment or supplies. Therefore, the tolerances of these parts need to be accurate enough so that the assembly fittings popped into place with ease.
The Stratasys H350
Consistency and accuracy go hand in hand with the H350, seeing that we need precision accuracy but also consistency across the entire build area to maximize packing density while minimizing cost. Unlike its competition, the H350 dual print carriages hold heating lamps as they are moving from left to right, while the powder is deposited and rolled in the same direction. This ensures an even temperature of the nylon powder across the build area before depositing any agent, allowing each .004” layer to be accurate and consistent across the entirety of the print.
In conclusion, the SAF technology has comparatively outreached FDM for this given scenario. While the ductility and high impact resistance of PA11 has proven to be the great overall material for the job, the time it is producing parts is completely unmatched. The printing architecture of the H350 offers the precision needed in order to allow nesting densities to be the highest of its class. Leading arguably most important factor cost, in this case, the cost per part has been most attractive coming out to be $19 per set which is almost a fifth of the cost of FDM.