Why Using Stratasys Certified Material Is The Best Option

Many of our customers ask about using off the shelf or open source materials for their FDM machine.  While there has been many open source materials come out, we always recommend that customers use Stratasys materials since there are compelling reasons for doing so.How are companies using 3D printing in the consumer goods industry? Multiple Design Iterations

The machine, software and materials all interface to give you the best part possible.  If you use material that comes from an outside supplier, you often don’t know what the melting temperatures or the exact composition of the plastic is, and this can greatly affect your equipment and ruin your part.

For example, there are over 5000 different types of ABS.  Some grades of ABS are better for injection molding, some are better for extrusion and some are better for making parts by machining.  Having materials that come from Stratasys that are assured work with the FDM printer means less time that you waste and better parts.

Another factor is that material you buy off eBay or an Internet site may contain an unknown amount of recycled plastics or fillers which cause wide swings in melt temps.  Added to the melt temperature swings is the risk of clogged heads or “spitting” as the material comes out due to moisture or bad materials.  These problems can mean the loss of a part in mid build.  In checking on social media, complaints on material problems and failed parts are widespread and cause lots of headaches for users.  There are even complaints that the consistency of the build material at the beginning to the end of spool changes on some overseas supplies.

automotive-smallLastly, some open source material suppliers brag that they have chips embedded in the spools so the materials will run on Stratasys machines.  Using non-Stratasys material s could be even more of a problem than bad parts in these cases – users may void any service or warranty contracts plus cause errors that could interfere with machine operation.  Non-Stratasys material use is a risk to your machine, parts and your business.

With all three of the things that go into making a part (hardware, software and material) in a one stop shop you have only one source to talk to regarding problems.   With open source, you end up being caught in a game of finger pointing with manufacturers passing the blame to materials and vice versa.  With a single source there is one place to go and the troubleshooting variables are drastically cut down.

Lastly, materials for 3D printing are an extremely small portion of plastic sales.  Current figures from SPI show that in the overall plastics market, 3D printing represents less than 1% of plastic consumption.  With such a small amount of plastics going towards printing, firms like Stratasys have to “mix” their formulations with specialty compounders.  This means higher cost, higher quality control, and a niche market where the plastic is tailored for 3D printing.  But this also means better materials, consistent builds and better results.  So when you positively have get the part in the customer’s hands – the reliability and known factors of Stratasys materials makes it the best choice.

ULTEM 1010 – Where This Material Fits Into Your Manufacturing

ULTEM 1010 – Where This Material Fits Into Your Manufacturing

Stratasys announced a new grade of Ultem 1010 earlier this month and this material has been generating questions on where it fits into the line-up of materials versus the more established Ultem 9085 material.  Ultem 1010 material can be used on the 400mc, 450mc and 900mc platforms and offers a higher temperature rating as well as an ability to be used in food applications and be autoclaved.  Specifically, the Ultem 1010 certified grade is rated under both NSF and USP standards and is well suited to applications where the material needs to withstand high heat and moisture. Ultem 1010 is a Polyetherimide (PEI) Thermoplastic with the highest tensile strength, chemical resistance, and temperature resistance of any FDM material offered by Stratasys. IN addition to the enhanced properties and biocompatibility, the new breakaway support material is much easier to remove – improving the overall ease of use.

Ultem 1010 Certified Grade offers the Food Safety Certification NSF 51 Certified and the Bio-Compatibility Certification ISO 10993/USP Class VI Certified.  Spec sheets can be downloaded by clicking this link: ULTEM 1010 Spec Sheet

Applications such as medical trays that hold instruments can use this material and the user will have the capability to do custom configurations so that instruments and kits maintain the orientation of the pieces contained in the trays and “everything in place” when going into a sterile environment.  This use of the material for low volume production or custom trays means less cost and less tooling with a part yield in hours rather than weeks or months.  This means the complex tray that may be needed for a specific instrument can be fabricated easily from CAD data, or tray and containers can be developed and printed as needed, eliminating the need for inventory.  This E-inventory practice eliminates space and saves time and material since inventory stacking and handling can damage goods in storage.


Other applications for the Ultem 1010 include

Aerospace: Exterior components such as ducts, clips, semi-structural components (non-interior) that require the higher heat but don’t need the FST rating (use Ultem 9085 for interior parts)

Automotive: Parts that need the high heat resistance may be a good fit.

Food Production: custom shaping forms, baking sheets, decorating masks, cutting dies, cookie cutters, patterns, fixtures and more.

Medical: Surgical and cutting guides, custom instruments, light fixtures, tools, surgical guides, custom trays and more where autoclaving is needed.


Of special note in aerospace applications, the Ultem 9085 material is still the best choice for interior components in aerospace application due to the FST (flame, smoke, toxicity) certification.  The notched IZOD rating is also different between the two materials, with the 9085 having a notched IZOD of 2.0 ft-lb/in (106 J/m) versus the Ultem 1010 rating of 0.8 ft-lb/in (41 J/m).

Each application and design has differences that make material selection a critical success point for your printing.  The best course of action is to ask questions, compare notes, and consult with your 3D printing professional.

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