Presentation: 3D Printing & Optics

The experts at PADT are often asked to speak at conferences around the country, even around the world. This is a great opportunity for us to present what we do and share what we know. The downside is that we only reach the people in the room. The solve this, we are going back and presenting past live seminars at our desks and recording them on BrightTalk. This is the third of those recordings. To find others go to our BrightTalk Channel

The world of optical systems is a subset of mechanical engineering with unique needs and requirements. Those unique needs also make it an ideal area to apply Additive Manufacturing, also known as 3D Printing.

This is a presentation that we gave at Photonics Days, held at the University of Arizona in Tucson Arizona from January 30th through February 1st of 2019.

You can view the presentation on BrightTALK here:
https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/15747/360024

Meshing Updates in ANSYS 2019 R2 – Webinar

An intelligent, high-quality mesh is at the core of any effective simulation based model; creating the basis for what will help to drive valuable results for even the most complex engineering problems.

Among a variety of tools in ANSYS 2019 R2 are enhanced meshing capabilities that can help reduce pre-processing time and provide a more streamlined solution.

Join PADT’s Specialist Mechanical Engineer, Joe Woodward for a look at what new meshing capabilities are available in the latest release of ANSYS. This presentation will focus predominately on updates regarding:

ANSYS Mechanical Meshing
Batch Connections
Axisymmetric Sweep
Layered Tetrahedron Enhancements
Local Sizing Enhancements
SpaceClaim Meshing
Parameter Management
Direct Modeling/Meshing
Hex Meshing
Block Decomposition

And much more!

Register Here

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You will only have to do this once! For all future webinars, you can simply click the link, add the reminder to your calendar and you’re good to go!

Four Different Ways to Add Customization to ANSYS Mechanical

ANSYS Mechanical is a very powerful tool right out of the box.  Long gone are the days when an FEA tool was just a solver, and users had to write code to create input files and interpret the results.  Most of the time you never have to write anything to effectively use ANSYS Mechanical. But, users can realize significant gains in productivity and access greater functionality through customization. And it is easy to do.

Before we talk about the four options, we need to remember how the tool, ANSYS Mechanical, is actually structured.  The interface that users interact with is a version of ANSYS Workbench called ANSYS Mechanical. The interface allows users to connect to geometry, build and modify their model, set up their solution, submit a solve, and review results. The solve itself is done in ANSYS Mechanical APDL. This is the original ANSYS Multiphysics program. 

When you press the solve button ANSYS Mechanical writes out commands in the languages used by ANSYS Mechanical APDL, called the ANSYS Parametric Design Language, or APDL.  Yes, that is where ANSYS Mechanical APDL got its name. We like to call it MAPDL for short. (Side note: years ago we started a campaign to call it map-dul. It didn’t work.) Once the file is written, MAPDL is started, the file is read in, the solve happens, and all of the requested output files are written. Then ANSYS Mechanical reads those files and shows results to the user.

Customization Tool 1: Command Snippets for Controlling the Solver

Not every capability that is found in ANSYS Mechanical APDL is exposed in the interface for ANSYS Mechanical.  That is not a problem because users can use the APDL language in ANSYS Mechanical to access the full capability of the solver.  These small pieces of code are called Snippets and they are added to the tree for your ANSYS Mechanical model.  When the solver file is written, ANSYS Mechanical inserts your snippets into the command stream.  Simple and elegant.

PADT has a seminar from back in 2011 that lays it all out.  You can find the PowerPoint Presentation here. We do have plans to update this webinar soon.

This approach is used when you want to access capabilities in the solver that are not supported in the interface but you want to get to those features and keep track of them from inside your ANSYS Mechanical Model.

If you are not familiar with APDL, find a more “seasoned” user to help you. Or you can teach yourself APDL programming with PADT’s Guide to APDL .

Customization Tool 2: ANSYS Customization Toolkit (ACT) for Controlling the User Interface and Accessing the Model

As mentioned above, ANSYS Mechanical is used to define the model and review results.  The ANSYS Customization Toolkit (ACT) is how users customize the user interface, automate tasks in the interface, add tools to the interface, and access the model database. This type of customization can be as simple as a new feature, presented as an app, or it can be used to create a focused tool to streamline a certain type of simulation – what we call a vertical application.

image
A Vertical Application Written in ANSYS ACT by PADT for Automating the Design of Turbine Disks

Unlike APDL, ACT does is not have its own language. It uses Python and is a collection of Application Programmer Interface (API) calls from Python. This is a very powerful toolset that increases in capability at every release.  PADT has written stand alone applications using ACT to reduce simulation time significantly. We have also written features and apps for ourselves and users that make everyday use of ANSYS Mechanical better. 

Do note that ACT is supported in most of the major ANSYS products and more capability is being added across the available programs over time, not just in ANSYS Mechanical. You can also use ACT to connect ANSYS Mechanical to in-house or 3rd party software.

Because this is a standard environment, you can share your ACT applications on the ANSYS App Store found here. Take a look and you can see what users have done with ACT across the ANSYS Product suite, including ANSYS Mechanical.   PADT has two in the library, one for adding a PID controller to your model and the other is a tool for saving your ANSYS Mechanical APDL database.

Another great aspect of ACT is that it is fully documented.  If you go to the Customization Suite documentation in the ANSYS help library you can find everything you need.

Customization Tool 3: APDL for Automating the Solve  

With Code Snippets we talked about using APDL to access solver functions from ANSYS Mechanical that were not supported in ANSYS Mechanical.  You can also use APDL to automate what is going on during the solve.  Every capability in the ANSYS solver is accessible through APDL.

The most common usage of APDL is to create a tool that solves in batch mode. APDL programs are used to carry out tasks without going back to ANSYS Mechanical.  As an example, maybe you want to solve a load step, save some information from the solve, export it, read it in to a 3rd party program, modify it, modify some property in your model, then solve the next load step. You can do all of that with APDL in batch mode.

This is not for the faint of heart, you are getting into complex programming with a custom language. But if you take the time, it can be very powerful.  All of the commands are documented in the ANSYS Mechanical APDL help and details on the language are in the ANSYS Parametric Design Language Guide.  The PADT Blog is full of articles going back over a decade on using APDL in this way.

Customization Tool 4: User Programable Features in the Solver

One of the most powerful capabilities in the ANSYS Mechanical ADPL solver is the ability for end-users to add their own subroutines.  These User Programable Features, or UPF’s, allow you to create your own elements, make custom material models, customize loads, or customize contact behavior.

There are other general purpose FEA tools on the market that heavily publicize their user elements and user materials and they try to use it to differentiate themselves from ANSYS. However, ANSYS Mechanical APDL has always had this capability.  Many universities and companies add new capability to ANSYS using this method.

To learn more about how to do create your own custom version of ANSYS, consult the Programer’s Reference in the ANSYS Help. PADT also has a webinar sharing how to make a custom material here.

Next Steps

The key to successful customization ANSYS is to know your options, understand what you really want to do, and to use the wide range of tools you have available. Everything is documented in the help and this blog has some great examples.  Start small with a simple project and work your way up.

Or, you can leverage PADT’s expertise and contract with PADT to do your customization. This is what a half-dozen companies large and small have done over the years.  We understand ANSYS, we get engineering, and we know how to program. A perfect combination.

Regardless of how you customize ANSYS Mechanical, you will find it a rewording experience.  Greater functionality and more efficient usage are only a few lines of custom code away.

Presentation: If you are not scared, you are doing it wrong! Successful founders take risks

Legacy Presentation Series

The experts at PADT are often asked to speak at conferences around the country, even around the world. This is a great opportunity for us to present what we do and share what we know. The downside is that we only reach the people in the room. The solve this, we are going back and presenting past live seminars at our desks and recording them on BrightTalk. This is the second of those recordings. To find others go to our BrightTalk Channel

Fear can be an incredible motivator, especially in a small and growing business. This talk, originally presented at Phoenix Startup Week in 2018, goes over how being scared can be a good thing.

View the presentation here:
https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/15747/359366

All Things ANSYS 037 – Optimizing the Industrial Internet of Things with ANSYS Digital Twins

 

Published on: May 20th, 2019
With: Eric Miller & Matt Sutton
Description:  

In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by PADT’s Senior Analyst and Lead Software Developer, Matt Sutton for a discussion on the industrial internet of things, and how ANSYS Digital twins helps companies make confident predictions about future product performance, reduce the cost and risk of unplanned downtime, and improve future product development processes.

If you would like to learn more about this update and see the tools in action, check out PADT’s webinar covering ANSYS Twin Builder here: http://alturl.com/ccjjq

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at podcast@padtinc.com we would love to hear from you!

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Presentation: Metal 3D Printing is Changing Design, Here is how Design Engineers can Adapt

Legacy Presentation Series:

The experts at PADT are often asked to speak at conferences around the country, even around the world. This is a great opportunity for us to present what we do and share what we know. The downside is that we only reach the people in the room. The solve this, we are going back and presenting past live seminars at our desks and recording them on BrightTalk. This is the first of those recordings. To find others go to our BrightTalk Channel

Metal 3D Printing systems, especially Powder Bed Fusion Additive Manufacturing machines, have made the free-form creation of metal parts directly from CAD a reality. This has freed geometry from the constraints of traditional manufacturing and reducing the product development process. 

This presentation goes over what Design Engineers need to know to adapt to the possibility and constraints of 3D Printing in metal.

View the recording here: https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/15747/359359

Optimize Product Performance with ANSYS Digital Twins – Webinar

Engineering simulation has traditionally been used for new product design and virtual testing, eliminating the need to build multiple prototypes prior to product launch.

Now, with the emergence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), simulation is expanding into operations. The IIoT enables engineers to communicate with sensors and actuators on an operating product to capture data and monitor operating parameters. The result is a digital twin of the physical product or process that can be used to monitor real-time prescriptive analytics and test predictive maintenance to optimize asset performance.

Join PADT’s Senior Analyst & Lead Software Developer Matt Sutton for an in depth look at how digital twins created using ANSYS simulation tools optimize the operation of devices or systems, save money by reducing unplanned downtime and enable engineers to test solutions virtually before doing physical repairs.

This webinar will include an overview of technical capabilities, packaging for licensing, and updates made with the release of ANSYS 2019 R1.

Register Here

If this is your first time registering for one of our Bright Talk webinars, simply click the link and fill out the attached form. We promise that the information you provide will only be shared with those promoting the event (PADT).

You will only have to do this once! For all future webinars, you can simply click the link, add the reminder to your calendar and you’re good to go!

3D Printing Infill Styles – the What, When and Why of Using Infill

Have you ever wondered about choosing a plain versus funky infill-style for filament 3D-printing? Amongst the ten standard types (no, the cat infill design is not one of them), some give you high strength, some greatly decrease material use or printing time, and others are purposely tailored with an end-use in mind.

Highly detailed Insight slicing software from Stratasys gives you the widest range of possibilities; the basic versions are also accessible from GrabCAD Print, the direct-CAD-import, cloud-connected slicing software that offers an easy approach for all levels of 3D print users.

A part that is mimicking or replacing a metal design would do best when built with Solid infill to give it weight and heft, while a visual-concept model printed as five different test-versions may work fine with a Sparse infill, saving time and material. Here at PADT we printed a number of sample cubes with open ends to demonstrate a variety of the choices in action. Check out these hints for evaluating each one, and see the chart at the end comparing build-time, weight and consumed material.

Infill choices for 3D printed parts, offered with Stratasys’ GrabCAD Print software. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

Basic Infill Patterns

Solid (also called Alternating Raster) This is the default pattern, where each layer has straight fill-lines touching each other, and the layer direction alternates by 90 degrees. This infill uses the most material but offers the highest density; use it when structural integrity and super-low porosity are most important.

Solid (Alternating Raster)

Sparse Raster lines for Sparse infill also run in one direction per layer, alternating by layer, but are widely spaced (the default spacing is 0.080 inches/2 mm). In Insight, or using the Advanced FDM settings in GrabCAD, you can change the width of both the lines and the spaces.

Sparse Double Dense As you can imagine, Sparse Double Dense achieves twice the density of regular Sparse: it deposits in two directions per layer, creating an open grid-pattern that stacks up throughout the part.

Sparse High Density Just to give you one more quick-click option, this pattern effectively sits between Sparse Double Dense and Solid. It lays rasters in a single direction per layer, but not as closely spaced as for Solid.

Hexagram The effect of this pattern looks similar to a honeycomb but it’s formed differently. Each layer gets three sets of raster lines crossing at different angles, forming perfectly aligned columns of hexagons and triangles. Hexagram is time-efficient to build, lightweight and strong in all directions.

Hexagram
Additional infill styles and the options for customizing them within a part, offered within Stratasys Insight 3D printing slicing and set-up software. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

Advanced Infill Patterns (via Custom Groups in Insight)

Hexagon By laying down rows of zig-zag lines that alternately bond to each other and bend away, Hexagon produces a classic honeycomb structure (every two rows creates one row of honeycomb). The pattern repeats layer by layer so all vertical channels line up perfectly. The amount of build material used is just about one-third that of Solid but strength is quite good.

Hexagon

Permeable Triangle A layer-by-layer shifting pattern of triangles and straight lines creates a strong infill that builds as quickly as Sparse, but is extremely permeable. It is used for printing sacrificial tooling material (i.e., Stratsys ST130) that will be wrapped with composite material and later dissolved away.

Permeable Triangle

Permeable Tubular This infill is formed by a 16-layer repeating pattern deposited first as eight varying wavy layers aligned to the X axis and then the same eight layers aligned to the Y axis. The resulting structure is a series of vertical cylinders enhanced with strong cross-bars, creating air-flow channels highly suited to tooling used on vacuum work-holding tables.

Permeable Tubular 0.2 Spacing
Permeable Tubular 0.5 Spacing

Gyroid (so cool we printed it twice) The Gyroid pattern belongs to a class of mathematically minimal surfaces, providing infill strength similar to that of a hexagon, but using less material. Since different raster spacings have quite an effect, we printed it first with the default spacing of 0.2 inches and then widened that to 0.5 inches. Print time and material use dropped dramatically.

Gyroid 0.2 Spacing
Gyroid 0.5 Spacing

Schwarz D (Diamond) This alternate style of minimal surface builds in sets of seven different layers along the X-axis, ranging from straight lines to near-sawtooth waves, then flipping to repeat the same seven layers along the Y-axis. The Schwarz D infill balances strength, density and porosity. As with the Gyroid, differences in raster spacing have a big influence on the material use and build-time.

Schwarz Diamond 0.2 Spacing
Schwarz Diamond 0.5 Spacing

Digging Deeper Into Infill Options

Infill Cell Type/0.2 spacing Build Time Weight Material Used
Alternating Raster (Solid) 1 h 57 min 123.77 g 6.29 cu in.
Sparse Double Dense 1 hr 37 min 44.09 g 4.52 cu in.
Hexagon (Honeycomb) 1 h 49 min 37.79 g 2.56 cu in.
Hexagram (3 crossed rasters) 1 h 11 min. 47.61 g 3.03 cu in.
Permeable Triangle 1 h 11 min. 47.67 g 3.04 cu in.
Permeable Tubular – small 2 h 5 min. 43.95 g 2.68 cu in.
Gyroid – small 1 h 48 min. 38.68 g 2.39 cu in.
Schwarz Diamond (D) – small 1 h 35 min. 47.8 g 3.04 cu in.
Infill Cell Type/0.5 spacing Build Time Weight Material Used
Permeable Tubular – Large 1 h 11 min. 21.84 g 1.33 cu in.
Gyroid – Large 57 min. 20.59 g 1.29 cu in.
Schwarz Diamond (D) – Large 58 min. 23.74 g 1.51 cu in.

Hopefully this information helps you perfect your design for optimal strength or minimal material-use or fastest printing. If you’re still not sure which way to go, contact our PADT Manufacturing group: get your questions answered, have some sample parts printed and discover what infill works best for the job at hand.

PADT Inc. is a globally recognized provider of Numerical Simulation, Product Development and 3D Printing products and services. For more information on Insight, GrabCAD and Stratasys products, contact us at info@padtinc.com.

Introducing the Stratasys V650 Flex – Stereolithography Upgraded

The result of over four years of testing, the Stratasys V650 Flex delivers high quality outputs unfailingly, time after time. More than 75,000 hours of collective run time have gone into the V650 Flex; producing more than 150,000 parts in its refinement.

Upgrade to the Stratasys V650 Flex 3D Stereolithography printer and you can add game-changing advances in speed, accuracy and reliability to the established capabilities of Stereolithography. Create smooth-surfaced prototypes, master patterns, large concept models and investment casting patterns more quickly and more precisely than ever.  

In partnership with DSM, Stratasys have configured, pre-qualified and fine-tuned a four-strong range of resins specifically to maximize the productivity, reliability and efficiency of the V650 Flex 3D printer. Create success with thermoplastic elastomers, polyethylene, polypropylene and ABS:

Next-generation stereolithography resins, ideal for investment casting patterns.

Stereolithography accuracy with the look, feel and performance of thermoplastic.

For applications needing strong, stiff, high-heat-resistant composites. Great detail resolution

A clear solution delivering ABS and PBT-like properties for stereolithography.

Thanks to reduced downtime and increased workflow, the Stratasys V650 Flex prints through short power outages, and if you ever need to re-start, you can pick up exactly where you left off. Years of testing have helped deliver not only the stamina to run and run, but also low maintenance needs and high efficiency. To make life even easier, the V650 Flex runs on 110V power, with no need to switch to a 220V power source.

For ease of use, every V650 Flex comes with a user-friendly, touch-enabled interface developed in parallel with SolidView build preparation software. This software contains smart power controls and an Adaptive Power Mode for automated adjustment of laser power, beam size and scan speeds for optimum build performance. 

The V650 Flex also comes equipped with adjustable beam spot sizes from 0.005” to 0.015” that enhance control, detail, smoothness and accuracy. With more precise printing comes better informed decision-making and better chances of success. You have twice the capacity and, to ease workflow further, this production-based machine provides a large VAT for maximum output (build volume 20”W x 20”D x 23”H) and interchangeable VATs.

Through partnering with Stratasys and Stereolithography now comes with an invaluable component: peace of mind. The V650 Flex is backed by the end-to-end and on-demand service and world-class support that is guaranteed with Stratasys. Any field issues get fixed fast, and their 30 years’ experience in 3D printing enable us to help you do more than ever, more efficiently.

Discover how you can work with advanced efficiency thanks to the all new Stratasys V650 Flex.

Contact the industry experts at PADT via the link below for more information:

All Things ANSYS 036 – Updates for Design Engineers in ANSYS 2019 R1 – Discovery Live, AIM, & SpaceClaim

 

Published on: May 6th, 2019
With: Eric Miller, Ted Harris, & Clinton Smith
Description:  

In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by PADT’s Simulation Support Manager Ted Harris, and CFD Team Lead Engineer Clinton Smith for a round-table discussion regarding new capabilities for Design Engineers in the latest release of the ANSYS Discovery family of products (Live, AIM, & SpaceClaim). Listen as they express their thoughts on exciting new capabilities, long anticipated technical improvements, and speculate at what has yet to come for this disruptive set of tools.

If you would like to learn more about this update and see the tools in action, check out PADT’s webinar covering ANSYS Discovery AIM & Live in 2019 R1 here: shorturl.at/gyKLM

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at podcast@padtinc.com we would love to hear from you!

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Discovery Updates in ANSYS 2019 R1 – Webinar

The ANSYS 3D Design family of products enables CAD modeling and simulation for all design engineers. Since the demands on today’s design engineer to build optimized, lighter and smarter products are greater than ever, using the appropriate design tools is more important than ever.

Two key tools helping design engineers meet such demands are ANSYS Discovery AIM and ANSYS Discovery Live. ANSYS Discovery AIM seamlessly integrates design and simulation for all engineers, helping them to explore ideas and concepts in greater depth, while Discovery Live operates as an environment providing instantaneous simulation, tightly coupled with direct geometry modeling, to enable interactive design exploration.

Both tools help to accelerate product development and bring innovations to market faster and more affordably.

Join PADT’s Simulation Support Manager, Ted Harris for a look at what exciting new features are available for design engineers in both Discovery Live and AIM, in ANSYS 2019 R1. This webinar will include discussions on updates regarding: 

  • Suppression of loads, constraints, & contacts
  • Topology Optimization
  • Improving simulation speed
  • Transferring data from AIM to Discovery Live

Register Here

If this is your first time registering for one of our Bright Talk webinars, simply click the link and fill out the attached form. We promise that the information you provide will only be shared with those promoting the event (PADT).

You will only have to do this once! For all future webinars, you can simply click the link, add the reminder to your calendar and you’re good to go!

All Things ANSYS 035 – The History of ANSYS: An Interview with Dr. John Swanson, author of the original program & founder of ANSYS Inc.

 

Published on: April 22nd, 2019
With: Eric Miller, Ted Harris, & Dr. John Swanson
Description:  

In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by PADT’s Ted Harris for a very special interview for users of ANSYS software, Dr. John Swanson. Dr. Swanson is known as the founder of “Swanson’s Analysis Systems” in 1970; the company that would later be known to the public as ANSYS Inc. He also wrote the original ANSYS program in his home, and since leaving the company has gone on the work in philanthropy and alternative energy.

A John Fritz Medal winner, and member of the National Academy of Engineering, John is considered an authority and pioneer in the application of Finite Element methods to engineering.

We are incredibly thankful that John was able to join us for this interview, and we hope you enjoy learning a little bit about the history of ANSYS from the founder himself.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at podcast@padtinc.com we would love to hear from you!

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Analyze, Visualize, and Communicate – What’s New With EnSight In ANSYS 2019 R1 – Webinar

Effective prototyping in today’s day and age requires not only an understanding of your product’s capabilities but also those of the environment it operates in, and how said environment impacts its use.

Engineers are finding that it is no longer possible to ignore the interactions between fluids and the structures that surround them, as they strive to optimize their product’s performance. 

EnSight helps you visualize coupled fluid-structure interaction data to gain the insights you need; providing a highly effective environment regardless of the complexity of the situation and the simulation being run. After exploring your data, EnSight can also be used to create a high quality visual representation to effectively communicate your results, thanks to the ability to place your model in immersive environments, add realistic lighting conditions, and so much more. 

Join PADT’s CFD Team Lead Engineer, Clinton Smith as we explore the capabilities of this tool, and take a look at what’s new in ANSYS 2019 R1, including updates on:

  • Parallel Fluent to Parallel Ensight capabilities
  • Transnational visual symmetry
  • EnVision handling of multi-panel display
  • And much more

Register Here

If this is your first time registering for one of our Bright Talk webinars, simply click the link and fill out the attached form. We promise that the information you provide will only be shared with those promoting the event (PADT).

You will only have to do this once! For all future webinars, you can simply click the link, add the reminder to your calendar and you’re good to go!

Seven Tips for 3D Printing with Nylon 12CF

If you’ve been thinking of trying out Nylon 12 Carbon Fiber (12CF)  to replace aluminum tooling or create strong end-use parts, do it! All the parts we’ve built here at PADT have shown themselves to be extremely strong and durable and we think you should consider evaluating this material. Get More Info here.

All large format printing for our Orlando tradeshow clients is done in house. Exhibit U is a commercial print agency located in Orlando with multiple locations nationwide. Exhibit U is known for it’s large format printing whether it’s outdoor building signage, internal wall signs. The Mimaki JFX200 2513 delivers high performance and high speed.

Nylon 12CF filament consists of black Nylon 12 filled with chopped carbon fibers; it currently runs on the Stratasys Fortus 380cf, Fortus 450 and Fortus 900 FDM systems when set up with the corresponding head/tip configuration. (The chopped fiber behavior requires a hardened extruder and the chamber runs at a higher temperature.) We’ve run it on our Fortus 450 and found with a little preparation you get excellent first-part-right results.

Forming tool printed in Nylon 12CF on a Stratasys Fortus 450 FDM printer. Build orientation was chosen to have the tool on its side while printing, producing a smooth curved surface (the critical area). (Image courtesy PADT)

With Nylon 12CF, fiber alignment is in the direction of extrusion, producing ultimate tensile strength of 10,960 psi (XZ orientation) and 4,990 psi (ZX orientation), with tensile modulus of 1,100 ksi (XZ) and 330 ksi (ZX). By optimizing your pre-processing and build approach, you can create parts that take advantage of these anisotropic properties and display behavior similar to that of composite laminates.

Best Practices for Successful Part Production

Follow these steps to produce best-practice Nylon 12CF parts:

  1. Part set-up in Insight or GrabCAD Print software:
    • If the part has curves that need a smooth surface, such as for use as a bending tool, orient it so the surface in question builds vertically. Also, set up the orientation to avoid excess stresses in the z-direction.
    • The Normal default build-mode selection works for most parts unless there are walls thinner than 0.2 inches/0.508 mm; for these, choose Thin Wall Mode, which reduces the build-chamber temperature, avoiding any localized overheating/melting issues. Keep the default raster and contour widths at 0.2 inches/0.508 mm.
    • For thin, flat parts (fewer than 10 layers), zoom in and count the number of layers in the toolpath. If there is an even number of layers, create a Custom Group that lets you define the raster orientation of the middle two layers to be the same – then let the rest of the layers alternate by 90 degrees as usual. This helps prevent curl in thin parts.
    • Set Seam Control to Align or Align to nearest, and avoid setting seams on edges of thin parts; this yields better surface quality.

2. In the Support Parameters box, the default is “Use Model Material where Possible” – keep it. Building both the part and most of the surrounding supports from the same material reduces the impact of mismatched thermal coefficient of expansion between the model and support materials. It also shortens the time that the model extruder is inactive, avoiding the chance for depositing unwanted, excess model material. Be sure that “Insert Perforation Layers” is checked and set that number to 2, unless you are using Box-style supports – then select 3. This improves support removal in nearly enclosed cavities.

3. Set up part placement in Control Center or GrabCAD Print software: you want to ensure good airflow in the build chamber. Place single parts near the center of the build-plate; for a mixed-size part group, place the tallest part in the center with the shorter ones concentrically around it.

4. Be sure to include a Sacrificial Tower. This is always the first part built, layer by layer, and should be located in the right-front corner. Keep the setting of Full Height so that it continues building to the height of the tallest part. You’ll see the Tower looks very stringy! That means it is doing its job – it takes the brunt of stray strings and material that may not be at perfect temperature at the beginning of each layer’s placement.

Part set-up of a thin, flat Nylon 12CF part in GrabCAD print, with Sacrificial Tower in its correct position at lower right, to provide a clean start to each build-layer. (Image courtesy PADT)

5. Run a tip-offset calibration, or two, or three, on your printer. This is really important, particularly for the support material, to ensure the deposited “bead” is flat, not rounded or asymmetric. Proper bead-profile ensures good adhesion between model and support layers.

6. After printing, allow the part to cool down in the build chamber. When the part(s) and sheet are left in the printer for at least 30 minutes, everything cools down slowly together, minimizing the possibility of curling. We have found that for large, flat parts, putting a 0.75-inch thick aluminum plate on top of the part while it is still in the chamber, and then keeping the part and plate “sandwiched” together after taking it out of the chamber to completely cool really keeps things flat.

7. If you have trouble getting the part off the build sheet: Removing the part while it is still slightly warm makes it easier to get off; if your part built overnight and then cooled before you got to it, you can put it in a low temp oven (about 170F) for ten (10) to 20 minutes – it will be easier to separate. Also, if the part appears to have warped that will go away after the soluble supports have been removed.

Be sure to keep Nylon 12CF canisters in a sealed bag when not in use as the material, like any nylon, will absorb atmospheric moisture over time.

Many of these tips are further detailed in a “Best Practices for FDM Nylon 12CF” document from Stratasys; ask PADT for a copy of it, as well as for a sample or benchmark part. Nylon 12 CF offers a fast approach to producing durable, custom components. Discover what Nylon 12CF can mean for your product development and production groups.

PADT Inc. is a globally recognized provider of Numerical Simulation, Product Development and 3D Printing products and services. For more information on Nylon 12CF and Stratasys products, contact us at info@padtinc.com.

Introducing the Stratasys F120 3D Printer

An industrial 3D printer at a price that brings professional 3D printing to the masses. Introducing the powerfully reliable F120, the newest addition to the Stratasys F123 Series. Stratasys brings their industrial expertise to transform the 3D printing game.

The F120 is everything you have come to expect from Stratasys: Accurate results, user-friendly interface and workflow, and durable 3D printing hardware. Their industrial-grade reliability means there is low maintenance compared to others.

When it comes to touch-time, there is little to no tinkering or adjustment required. The F120 is proven to print for up to 250 hours, uninterrupted with new, large filament boxes, as well as printing 2-3 times faster than competition, making for a fast return on investment.

Worried about lengthy and complicated setup time? Why wait to print – the Stratasys F120 is easy to install and set up, whether you’re new to 3D printing or not. Ease of use comes standard with GrabCAD Print machine control software. Dramatically simplify your workflow and see how the Stratasys F120 sets the standard for ease of use, with no specialized training or dedicated technician required.

The Stratasys F120 outperforms the competition. But don’t just take our word for it. Over 1000 hours were spent independently testing a number of key build attributes, including feature reproduction, part sturdiness and surface quality. The Stratasys F123 Series and its engineering-grade materials came out on top.

When considering purchasing a printer; time-to-part, failed print jobs, downtime, repairs, and schedule delays all should be accounted for.

The Stratasys F120 has all the features and benefits of their larger industrial-grade 3D printers, along with the superior speed, reliability, minimal touch-time, and affordable purchase price, giving you the best cost-per-part performance. Print complex designs with confidence thanks to soluble support, and enjoy unrivaled ease of use and accuracy with every print.

Don’t waste time and resources on tools that aren’t up to the task. Enhance your productivity. Make it right the first time with the F120.

Want to learn more about this exciting new tabletop printer that’s blowing away the competition?

Contact the industry experts at PADT via the link below: