The Stratasys Dimension 1200es Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printer, located in Hunt A5B, uses a process in which thermo-formed materials are extruded through heated print heads. The Dimension printer uses ABS plastic and a patented support material to build a 3d part by extruding layers of material. The print volume is 10″x10″x12″. The print layers are 1/100″ thick. The printing process is relatively slow compared to other 3d printers; however, it is reliable and consistent.
To print a part on the Dimension 1200es, you must first use a CAD program to create valid solid 3d model and exporting the model as an .stl (stereolithography) file. Then, you must import the STL file in the CatalystEX program to process it for printing.
The CatalystEX software is installed on all the IDeATe windows computers, and you can also find it as a free download from Stratasys. The CatalystEX program adds any necessary internal or external supports so that your part will not warp or sag during printing. The program will tell you the volume of your part and the volume of support material, both in cubic inches. You will need both of these numbers you when you submit your part to the print queue. Save your file as a .cmb or .cmb.gz file, which is the only type that the print queue will accept.
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When the print completes, the model is removed from the printer and placed in a soluble support bath. During this post processing, all support materials are dissolved leaving only the part. The part is removed from the bath after 1-2 hours and rinsed.
- When creating hollow parts, put “breathing” holes into your part. This allows the soluble support bath to flow ithrough the part’s hollow volume.
- Small thin parts tend to warp, sag and delaminate. You will be charged for any unsuccessful parts that have wall thicknesses less than 0.10″ or 2.54mm.
- The print queue is first-come, first served. You will be notified by email if there is a problem with your CAD model that prevents your part from being printed.