Stratasys Fortus 450mc

3D printer can create strong parts from engineering plastics.

The Fortus 450mc from Stratasys is an FDM industrial 3D printer that could be a smart selection if you are involved in producing jigs, fixtures, factory tooling and production parts, as well as functional prototypes that can take a beating when it comes to testing. Though the Fortus 450mc is not quite as versatile as some of the other 3D printers from Stratasys, it does have four layer thicknesses, providing the opportunity to create an ideal mixture of strength and detail.

Fortus 450mc users have the option to 3D print from any of nine thermoplastics that run the gambit from standard applications to engineering applications to high-performance materials. The Fortus 450mc is ideally suited for pilot production processes in mass-production industries. The developing and manufacturing costs drop, the manufacturing operation becomes more efficient, and the time to market decreases. The high speed FDM technology is also great for building one-off products and tools to help improve the production process. In bridge-to-production phases, having a Fortus 450mc would allow teams to create viable products while full-scale tools and production processes are being created, finalized or somewhere in between.

If your business is centered on low-volume production of highly customized products, a machine like the Fortus 450mc can optimize sales opportunities while reducing cost and lead times because of the absence of a minimum quantity requirement. You wouldn’t have to worry about part complexity adding time or extra cost. Additionally, as a product comes to the end of its life cycle, investing in repairing, retooling or using high-volume production equipment and staff can be costly. But the Fortus 450mc can 3D print a CAD file for a component or spare product near the end of its life cycle on an as-needed or as-ordered basis.

How the Fortus 450mc Works

You start by opening Stratasys’s Insight software, which preps your CAD program’s STL files for 3D printing with the Fortus 450mc. It works by automatically slicing your STL into individual layers to be 3D printed. It also generates support structures for 3D models with intricate or complicated geometry. Finally, it creates material extrusion paths to instruct the Fortus 450mc.

Insight software allows you to control and optimize build orientation, customize supports for the quickest way to remove them and ensure you’re making the best use of your materials. If you are interested in embedding other components into your print, you can program pauses ahead of time and embed hardware, circuitry or anything else that fits in your 3D object. Insight was also developed to facilitate networking — so design, engineering and manufacturing teams can increase throughput and coordinated efficiency.

The Fortus 450mc in Action

Minnesota-based Nova Tech Engineering manufactures automated machinery for use by poultry hatcheries around the globe. Customizing and updating their machines is a crucial part of their business.

The reason is their machines are used for many different types, sizes and breeds of birds. Once Nova Tech began to grow, machining many part variations became steadily less and less cost efficient, so much so that the company’s growth was being affected.

Jacob Rooney, a mechanical designer for Nova Tech, said, “We were spending a lot of time and money machining parts, which was detrimental to our overall operational efficiency.” He took the time to explore his options, did some research and discovered that FDM technology could provide a solution. Nova Tech Engineering purchased two FDM systems from Stratasys for prototyping, saw the results and ended up investing in a third system solely for pilot production.

“Today we use these printers for various applications such as rapid prototyping, creating casting molds, thermoforming, jigs and fixtures, and manufacturing finished parts,” said Rooney. The FDM technology also enabled a huge range of possibilities for their design teams. “FDM is the perfect fit for us . . . It allows us to easily change designs so we can fit the parts to the equipment and the bird variety at any stage without being penalized by cost or delays.”

FDM technology allowed Nova Tech Engineering to imagine, design and create specialized parts for their customers while greatly reducing the amount time and resources spent on them. Before the addition of industrial FDM 3D printers, it took Nova Tech Engineering four weeks and $45,000 to create 10 12-piece carrier assemblies. With their suite of FDM machines, it costs $1,500 and takes only three days.

Manufacturer: Stratasys

Model:Stratasys Fortus 450mc

Material:ABS-M30, ABS-M30i, ABS-ESD7, ASA, PC-ISO, PC, FDM Nylon 12, ULTEM 9085, ULTEM 1010

Color: White, translucent, black, ivory, red, blue, dark grey, tan

Build Envelope: 406 mm x 355 mm x 406 mm (16 in. x 14 in. x 16 in.)

Layer Thickness: .330 mm (.013 in.), .254 mm (.010 in.), .178 mm (.007 in.), .127 mm (.005 in.)

Axis Resolution: .0015 mm/mm (± .0015 in./in.)

Printer Dimensions: 129.5 cm x 90.2 cm x 198.4 cm (51 in. x 35.5 in. x 78.1 in.)

Printer Weight: with crate: 680 kg (1500 lbs.); without crate: 601 kg (1,325 lbs.)

Recommended Uses:Jigs, fixtures, molds, casting, tooling, functional prototyping, end-use products

Machine Price: $185,000- $200,000

Who Should Use the Stratasys Fortus 450mc:

Medical professionals, product design teams, engineering teams and manufacturing teams.


Why Wouldn’t You Use the Stratasys Fortus 450mc:

If you need to create 3D objects or prototypes with multiple material characteristics outside of the range offered by the Fortus 450mc, or if you need to create prototypes that exceed the build envelope, the Fortus 450mc may not be right for your needs.