In a previous blog, I explained how to maintain a Stratasys Objet 3D printer and the importance of keeping your machines running smoothly. Regardless of which printer you have, there are certain levels of upkeep required. In this blog, we outline how to maintain a Stratasys FDM 3D printer.
Similar to a PolyJet, maintaining a healthy FDM 3D Printer is also a matter of routine. While the steps are slightly different, the principle is the same; the cleaner the printer, the more likely you are to increase the life of the machine and the accuracy of your parts. Here are the measures you need to take to maintan an FDM 3D printer on a daily, weekly and quarterly basis:
Empty the Purge Container
|The plastic purge container is attached to the rear wall of the modeling chamber. First, you will need to remove the purge container by grasping it and pushing it upward to release it from its three mounts. Next, pull it towards you and out of the chamber to empty. This process should be repeated after each build.|
|Above: Purge Container|
Remove Debris Buildup
|Another simple maintenance task is to remove any material buildup on the Z-platform and around the lead screw. Failure to do so could cause the base to become out of level, or if the buildup is large enough, it could cause the Z-stage to jam at its upper limit.|
Inspect the Tip Wipe Assembly
|After each build, you should inspect the tip wipe assembly to make sure there is no material build up or wear. If there is material build up or wear, clean the tip wipe assembly. Material build up on the tip wipe assembly can cause issues with part quality. This should be checked with daily operation of your FDM printer.|
|Above: Tip, Cover and Wipe|
Inspect the Tip Shrouds
After each build, you should inspect the tip shrouds for damage or material build up. If there is material build up, remove it as needed. If the material will not break free or there is damage to the tip shield, replace the tip shield.
Vacuum Build Chamber
While it doesn't have to be done every day, vacuuming the build chamber is an important thing to check off your maintenance check list. This will help remove all foreign particles and purged material to prevent it from clogging.
It is important to keep the door glass clean to ensure visibility while printing. This can be cleaned with any commercial glass cleaner.
Clean Fan Filter
|Cleaning the fan filter is important to add to your quarterly maintenance routine to make sure your 3D printer is running its best. First, locate the lower fan on the rear panel of the system and snap off the plastic frame that secures the fan filter. Then, clean the filter with soap and water, and blot it dry. Once this is done, you can reassemble and be on your way.|
Preventative Maintenance Alerts
In addition to your daily, weekly and quarterly cleaning regimens, Stratasys printers have Preventive Maintenance Alerts that will be displayed on the workstation at the 500 hour time interval and 2,000 hour time interval as a reminder to perform preventive maintenance. The recommended maintenance per time intervals vary for each printer, so be sure to check your printer User Guide for more detailed instruction on your printer's needs.
Need a reminder to stay up-to-date on your printer maintenance? Download our FDM Maintenance Checklist!