We all know that a well-maintained machine will produce better printers for a longer period of time. The previous generation of Polyjet 3D Printers proved difficult to maintain with cumbersome and confusing wizards and processes. Stratasys was well aware of this and has taken extensive measures with the new generation of 3D printers to make it easier to take care of your printer and far easier to navigate maintenance steps. Let's dive in and take look at the Head Optimization Wizard.
The Head Optimization Wizard is designed to test the effectiveness of the print heads and then attempts to adjust for clogged nozzles for optimal print quality. Depending on the material selected, best practices suggest utilizing the tools in this order: first, the Material Replacement Wizard, then the Routine Cleaning Wizard, and lastly, the Head Optimization Wizard for the most accurate results.
Once this wizard is initiated, it will start by printing the first of three sets of swatches, one for each individual material loaded. This process will repeat two more times. Each set will be printed slightly closer to the center of the build tray. Once the printing of all 18 swatches is complete, a timer set to twenty minutes will appear on the touchscreen and begin counting down.
Starting with the first set of swatches and beginning with the leftmost swatch from this set, visually inspect the swatch for imperfections. In this example, we see an indication of a missing nozzle. Next, remove the swatch from the build tray and weigh it using a small jewelry scale. Record the number of missing nozzles and the weight of the swatch in grams on the touchscreen. Repeat this process for the remaining four model material and support material swatches in the first set.
Once complete, select the 7-12 option at the top of the touchscreen and continue weighing the swatches, again, starting from the left and working your way to the right. At this point, you no longer need to record the number of missing nozzles, only the weight of each swatch. After completing the second set of swatches, select 13-18 at the top of the touchscreen and repeat the process for the last set of swatches.
A successful Head Optimization Wizard will highlight each channel in green as pictured in the figure above. If the recorded values deviate too far from the expected values, the wizard will print an additional set of swatches, and the user will record the weights again. Once all of the channels are optimized, the wizard is complete. The user should proceed by completing one final Routine Cleaning Wizard to ensure that the print heads are clean and ready to print the next job in the queue.
The condition of the print heads directly affects the quality of your prints. To maintain optimal performance, you should routinely test the print heads and calibrate them by initiating the Head Optimization Wizard every 300 hours of printing. Watch the video below to see in-depth details on how it's done!