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Industrial-level FDM Machines

Industrial-level FDM Machines

I almost posted this in @arunmo's thread: but it would've been a derailment from the original post, so I'm starting a new thread out of respect. I was looking specifically at Titan3dRobotics.

I'd like to know if anyone has any input on the following machines in regards to my specific application. (bolded in case you wish to avoid my editorializing)

I happened to recently be pricing FDM solutions for in-house end-of-arm-tooling, fixtures, jigs, and other basic workholding devices. I had never heard of Titan3dRobotics before. After checking out their website, I recognize the Cronus from some tech articles where it was features with some Autodesk project.

I just got an email back from them with some details for 'The Hyperion', and am strongly leaning that direction, depending on sample prints they supply from my model (and compared against others) but I have to say that I really like everything they say about the machine. They -do- build them very differently than your typical, more popular, machine suppliers. Their components are much more impressive and respectable, imo. I believe they are much more well seated to supply truly professional, industrial environments, rather than consumer-product niches where they may not have manufacturing/technical staff on-hand to diagnose, maintain/upgrade the machine.

As someone who lived in Lafayette, LA for 8 years, whose favorite vacation destination includes areas surrounding Colorado Springs, I also have a strong affection toward seeing all the Acadiana flags and Ragin Cajun flags on the walls :) Lafayette was a very technology-friendly city while I was there (which is probably about when Clay Guillory was at school, there) and it seemed to be a great environment for cultivating modern engineering minds.

I got really good vibes from seeing how they make their machines (framework, hot ends, software, motors, avoids proprietary parts/materials), and how they support the customer (you are actually given the actual wiring diagram, plus a very fair warranty), plus a much larger envelope (24in^3)

Stratasys has steep competition for my needs. For comparison, I'm looking at machines in their F170 and Fortus 380mc, and some MarkForged (OnyxPro / Mark-X). If the budget isn't necessarily there, I'm also going to get information on Makerbot Replicator Z18, and Fusion3's F400.

Does anyone have any input on those machines, or wisdom to offer in material pros/cons for my application, which would vary from drill jigs to workpiece staging to EOAT and even vise jaws or cnc mill fixtures.

Does anyone know if any various FDM materials are susceptible to degradation when exposed to common cnc machine tool coolants/cutting-fluids?

RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

Hi JNieman; Next time please just paste this:

Just directly copy paste the threäd1536-422604 Instead of the informationless URL as it results in this more useful result instead:

thread1536-422604: A newbie to 3 D printing

The Z18 looks good. It does, however, concern me when machine vendors add "using our optimized PLA". This can result in them whining about you're not using their overpriced material rather than actually helping you get it reliable with your material.

Sorry I don't have any experience with the those makes.

Keith Cress
kcress -

RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

Thanks for the tip :)

I agree on the downside of proprietary filament / cartridges - it's often a more costly per unit of filament as well as a possible maintenance/warranty issue if they choose to be that way.

On the one note, though, I'm having a lot of trouble finding information about longevity of parts in a CNC machine environment. I worry about degradation of PLA/ABS/etc in a cutting fluid / coolant environment. I know UV light and general humidity is an issue for most materials, but only on a timeline I don't expect to worry about. I wonder if oils are similar, or faster acting.

RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

What is the cost of 2.85mm dia,10 kilo PLA reel for proprietary product. I got them for around 13USD/kilo.Again, it was recommended by Clay, but not compelled to buy from them.

Open sourcing of spares, consumable, free technical support, complete wiring diagram, onsite installation, good warranty and a recommendation from my friend Marty Renk of Alliant Castings, endeared me to for Titan robotics.

"Even,if you are a minority of one, truth is the truth."

Mahatma Gandhi.

RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

Hi JNieman; Unless you're only going to print PLA you should probably sequester the printer in its own ventilated space as many filaments produce unpleasant odors and some give off actually poison gas. I would definitely be concerned with oil mists around a printer. They will likely give you fits with part/build-plate adhesion - a critical aspect of 3D printing. I could also see it affecting the layer adhesion in a really hard way to detect. One print could be great followed by the next delaminating because CNC 3 was running with its door open for a minute.

In it's own ventilated space I would most definitely replace the ventilated air with clean outside air.

Keith Cress
kcress -

RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

I'm not concerned about the machine. I'm concerned about the parts it produces. The machine will not be adjacent misting machines or anything.

I'm expecting a situation where parts are produced in an ideal, clean, climate controlled environment with an enclosure on the machine to maintain appropriate bed and environment heat, and parts able to 'set' as long as necessary before pulling off and cleaning up.

-THEN- they may be introduced to a shop environment for usage. That's what I'm looking into, to hopefully head off any 'surprises' before they bite me.

RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

I can't offer a comparison of FDM machines since I've only produced parts from a single Fortus 900 unit.

I can contribute a few thoughts about machining, cutting, and generally working the resultant parts, which was a distinct learning experience for me.
I found that in many ways, working with the FDM part is like working with wood. Bad wood.
Grain, splitting, chipping, feathering are all different. Nothing like molded plastic parts or metals.
Every operation such as cutting, drilling, sanding will have variable results until you discover the appropriate techniques.
Eventually, I found the best results to treat it like wood, respecting the grain and supporting it carefully as I did things like drill holes to size.

I believe that some materials print better than others at the small layer thicknesses, so check to make sure that your assumed grain resolution (ie. 0.005" versus 0.025") is possible with your preferred materials (ie. Acrylic vs. Nylon vs. Ultem).


RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

Thanks for the insight. I have to admit, other than the possibility of delamination under aggressive cutting/drilling, I hadn't thought of it as being much different than molded/extruded plastics. I'll adjust our approach and try to play with it a bit before going "prime time" with some ideas.

RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

In the same vein I went to great effort to create a printed device that was to have pressurized liquid in it. After actually getting it to come out spectacularly well and as a final check I looked at it under a microscope and was horrified to see the gorgeous result looked about like a wicker basket weave in miniature. No way would it be likely to even hold unpressurized water.

Keith Cress
kcress -

RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

Yea, I don't know that I'd ever expect a FDM part to be air/water tight without some additional sealing or post-processing of some kind. Just not the nature of the thing.

RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

Oh, yeah, I didn't get around to mentioning all the filler primer that needs to go on.
Not just direct exposure to water, but consider humidity, accumulation of other contaminants in the porous cavities...

There are a lot of FDM parts being made for aircraft air ducting now, given the funny shapes and light loads.
I wonder how those parts will fare after a few years, cycling from humid low altitudes to cold dry high altitudes.
Once saturated with moisture, how will they respond to a few freeze/thaw cycles?


RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

Good point.

I was pretty amazed at how little my parts were welded layer to layer. It looked like about 5 to 10% of one circular layer was all that connected to the one below. In some cases a lot less than that. The parts work pretty well for my usual applications. I wonder if I can tweak settings to get more like 30% layer-to-layer. I haven't tried yet.

Keith Cress
kcress -

RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

From my limited experience, I notice that structural integrity of 3D printed parts is an area of concern. There seems to be a race to achieve, my part looks best or fixation to replicate geometry. Beyond, it are still grey areas.

"Even,if you are a minority of one, truth is the truth."

Mahatma Gandhi.

RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines


...I wonder if I can tweak settings to get more like 30% layer-to-layer...

I think raising the oven temperature does.
Bear in mind all of the consequences of doing that.
-increase the wall support
-risk of slumping
-more shrinkage

I also learned the hard way that when doing batches of different parts on the tray at the same time, they all have to be compatible with the temp conditions you set.


RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

As an aerospace engineer (like other mechanical engineers) I'm keenly aware of the effect of process control on the result of any fabrication task.

Where on the drawing do you specify the oven temperature?
Does the drawing have axis icons to show the orientation of the part on the platter?
I had to come up with a dozen things like that to exert some control over the process of FDM'ing the parts I did make, to get them right.
Eventually we will have to come up with a Standard Process document to define what should be done. Long way from that point, though.

I find it most frustrating that "best practices" instructions is barely available. Nothing but vague scraps here and there.
Stratasys didn't provide us with much info to guide us.
Though, to be fair, it hasn't mattered yet in my workplace. Once it does, you can count on me getting really hands-on with test coupons.


RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

I would think treating orientation of print method would be controlled just like any aerospace part where grain direction is necessary to be controlled on rolled/extruded metals.

I don't think you should specify temperature, unless it's a machine and process under your control. If you sub it out... maybe certain layer qualities would be specified - up to them to achieve.

RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

You don't specify oven temp on the drawing... that's a process specification, and the only thing on the drawing should be product specs. You need a process spec doc.

(and I wish I was joking about all of the paperwork... if it's a small company, you could probably get away with mashing it all together on the same doc).

Dan - Owner

RE: Industrial-level FDM Machines

If someone can refer me to some FDM process specs, I'd love to read them :) I assumed I would have to "roll my own". That falls under the same umbrella as anything though.

We're a small enough shop that, unless exceptional, we don't document and dictate process parameters like cutting rates. We will when a customer requires frozen planning and process control. No biggie. Otherwise it isn't worth our time on the vast majority if production.

I'd love to know if there is any process specs anyone has developed and doesn't want to keep secret, though. Even though it wouldn't be something to apply apples-to-apples if /anything/ is different (machine type, mainly) I could see people wanting to keep it close to their chest to avoid sharing knowledge that would betray a competitive edge over the rest of the world.

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