Have you ever sat and stared at your printer while it hums away making your part and thought to yourself “What if I could print my part at different resolutions based on the level of detail in a certain area of the part?” Well, good news, this is now a reality. If you didn’t think that, then I hope you are asking yourself “why didn’t I think of that?” Now, with the most recent update to GrabCAD Print, select Stratasys FDM machines have the option to utilize a new feature called Adaptive Slice.
What is Adaptive Slice?
With the Adaptive Slice feature, you designate your desired slice height like normal however, your part will be sliced using both the selected slice height and the next thicker slice height. What this means is that a part that has side walls that are close to vertical, will be printed at the faster, thicker slice and areas that have overhangs and horizontally curving geometry (roughly 20 degrees or greater angle) will be printed at the selected finer slice height. The result is a part that prints faster and with equally good surface finish than a part fully printed with a consistent slice height. In practice, the speed gains really start to build up as parts have denser infills and thicker cross sections. The part I created for this video demo printed in 35% less time then the traditional “constant” sliced part (that is 9 hours 3 minutes vs 6 hours and 41 minutes).
This is a great feature that we are happy to see available on some of the Stratasys FDM machines. We believe if you have a compatible machine (Stratasys F270, F370, Fortus 450 and F900) this will be a great tool in your toolbox to allow for increased build speeds without sacrificing surface quality.
Adaptive Slice is currently only available on the Stratasys F270, F370, Fortus 450 and F900 with slice heights of .007” and .010”. Looking at the roll out of this feature, we're not optimistic that it trickle down to older machines. So if it's a feature you need in your workflow we'll happily work with you to step up to one of the printers listed above.
Another note is that this feature is currently only able to print one part on the tray at one time if that part is sliced adaptively. This is even true with making copies of the same part. I know it’s a bummer, but we are optimistic that we'll at least be able to print multiple copies of the same adaptive sliced parts sooner rather than later, so stay tuned for an update on that in the coming months.
If you’re interested in learning more about GrabCAD features and updates, check out our related content and explore some of the amazing things you can do with the software.