Support Material Was Not Printing – June Service Highlight

Problem: Support material was not printing.

Background: A Connex 350 machine continued to have failed builds after cleaning, purging and troubleshooting. Examination of the machine revealed that the support materials were not being dispensed in each pass of the head, and the machine was stopping the builds.

Assessment: Troubleshooting for possible head starvation issues and clogged nozzles in the print head.

Fix: After troubleshooting and a review of configuration files, it was determined that the support heads needed to be replaced. Further questioning of the customer noted that the machine was in a hot environment where the materials and machine were regularly exposed to temperatures over 85 degrees F on a daily basis. Recommended temperatures for operation of the machine and storage of the materials noted that the storage temps should be between 15 °C and 25 °C (60 and 77 degrees F) and the room where both the machine operated and materials were stored were usually above 85 degrees F during the nights with excursions to above 95 degrees F ( 30 – 35 degrees C) on a regular basis.

Conclusions – elevated temperatures contributed to early head replacement due to materials reacting to heightened temps over a long period of time while in storage and in the machine.

May Service Highlight

May Service Highlight

Problem: Error message 14, 100 on display of Dimension 1200es

Background: Customer called into the support center in a panic because the machine would not print and displayed error 14, 100.  Turning the machine off and on did not clear the message, and the operator had gone thru multiple power cycle start-ups only to see the machine halt each time it was ready to print.

Assessment: Troubleshooting for material behind the build plate platform or on the build tray (plastics tray)

The Fix: Questions about whether the user was trying to reuse old trays that she had used for other builds in the machine led to the discovery that during a previous build, there had been a failure and material had fallen down behind the build platform and she was also attempting to reuse trays where support had been in the previous build area.  Instructing the user to carefully use a dental mirror or small hand mirror to look behind the build area into the screw and guide area (metal rods) behind the sheet metal holder of the build trays) to check for material that may have fallen down, the user did report some excess build materials, probably from an overflowing waste container.  Additionally she was instructed to use a new build tray. 

The user reported a successful start of print and completion of the build.

Conclusions – the call into to the support department ( about the error allowed the user to draw on the experience of the support team and avoid an on-site visit and more down time.  By openly communicating what had and hadn’t happened with the operation of the machine, assessment was quick and easy with the rapid return to an operations and building parts.

Additionally the user was reminded to do regular routine clean-up of the machine and use new build trays.

3D Printed Parts Falling Over – Service Highlight

3D Printed Parts Falling Over – Service Highlight

Problem: Tall parts falling over

Background: A customer who had a Fortus machine called complaining that tall parts were falling over during the build process, and he was losing materials and build time with incomplete parts.

The machine was functioning normally and builds that were not considered “tall” were working fine with no errors or obvious problems with the machine. Examination of the files in the Catalyst software showed no problems with layers missing or problems with a hidden gap.

Assessment: support was insufficient to secure the part to the build tray

Fix: Support team recommended a Z, and XY calibration before printing again. Also suggested that since the part was tall and without a base large enough to secure it to the build tray, that “surround” as his support option would be a better choice.

In general when a part is over 4” in height with a build base that is less than 25% of the height, using a “surround” support style will give a better assurance of completed builds.

Conclusions – The print failure was due to the part being tall and not enough support of the build structure for the height.

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