You may be asking yourself, "what makes the Stratasys F123 Series any better than its predecessors?" Is it the easy material change, customer replaceable components, or the multi-material flexibility? Keep reading to find out the key differences that set the F123 Series in a class of its own.
F123 Series at a Glance
For over a decade the Dimension 1200 has been a reliable platform for industry 3D printing, followed by the uPrint and Fortus 250mc. Although these printers are very reliable, the Stratasys F123 Series boasts many advancement that make it a worthy replacement for those now dated machines. Notice the image to the right. The F123 Series printers have an integrated touchscreen in place of the four-button display panel from before. A material bay drawer allows for a sleeker design, as well as dual model and dual support material cartridge compartments on select models. An integrated storage drawer gives the user the ability to store tools, spare heads, and other needed accessories in the printer. Stabilization feet on all four corners allows for a more accurate print at higher speeds, and a hinged top cover allow the operator to reach the head components without being in a heated chamber.
Comparing the F123 Series to Other Stratasys FDM Printers
Now that you have seen some of the physical differences, let’s dive into the technical jargon. Below is a table that compares two of the most common Stratasys FDM printers with the new F123 Series of printers.
For the vast majority of 3D printer users I have encountered, there are always recommendations on improvements they would like to see in the printers capabilities. The most common are larger build size, a larger continuous print and multiple material options. Although these can be found in larger printer's such as the Fortus 380mc or 450mc, for most companies, those printers can not be justified. However, the F370 can print an object with a volume 60% larger than the Fortus 250, up to 180ci unassisted and in four different materials.
The F123 series will print most parts 20-30% faster using the same settings as other printers, and as you can see, will still provide excellent quality parts. You can also print in draft mode, which will be roughly 2x faster than standard printing. Although results will be best in this mode for less complex geometry, any part can still be printed faster.
Another way to print faster parts is using PLA material. PLA does not use a soluble support material, but rather itself as breakaway support structures, which means no changing back and forth every two layers of support material.
You may also notice in the above picture the improved visible quality. This comes in part from the ASA material properties. These parts come straight off of the printer with a smoother finish, requiring less post processing for desired results.
Wider Range of Materials
Stratasys continues to roll out new FDM materials for their printers that increase their application possibilities. They have recently released a new elastomer material exclusively for the F123 series: Thermoplastic Polyurethane 92A (TPU 92A). The main differentiator between elastomers and rigid, or semi-rigid, polymers is resilience; TPU can stretch or compress significantly and not lose its shape. This material is renowned for high elongation, superior toughness and extreme durability. TPU 92A brings these benefits to FDM 3D printing and offers the capability to quickly produce large and complex elastomer parts.
For more information on the Stratasys F123 Series, download our white paper!