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Ask a 3D Printing Expert: Why is FDM soluble support such a big deal?

March 24, 2023 News

In FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) 3D printing, support structures are necessary to ensure that complex or overhanging parts of a design can be printed properly. These supports are usually made of the same material as the model, but they can be difficult to remove and often leave marks or scars on the final product. Standard manual support removal can also lead to breaking off certain part features and general frustration with more complex parts.

Stratasys has developed a solution to this problem with their soluble support material, which dissolves when exposed to a specific chemical solution. This material allows for intricate, organic designs without the need for complex supports that would be difficult to remove. This is especially helpful for interior voids and hollow sections that would be inaccessible with non-soluble, breakaway supports.

The soluble support printing material is made of a thermoplastic that dissolves completely while maintaining the accuracy and repeatability expected from a Stratasys system. Once printing is complete, the model is submerged in a cleaning system that easily washes away the support material using heat, ultrasonics, and agitation.

The benefits of this technology are numerous. Firstly, it saves time and effort since there is no longer a need to manually remove support structures. This increases the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the printing process by enabling operators to focus on more important tasks instead of chipping away at breakaway supports. Secondly, it enables the creation of more complex and intricate designs that were previously impossible using traditional FDM printing methods. This opens up new possibilities for designers and engineers to develop innovative and functional products and tooling.   

Stratasys FDM Soluble Support Materials:

  • SR-30 – used with ABS-ESD7, ASA, ABS-M30, ABSplus, and ABS-M30i
  • SR-35 – used with ABS-ESD7, ASA, ABS-M30 and ABS-M30i
  • SR-100 – used with PC (Polycarbonate)
  • SR-110 – used with PC-ABS, Nylon 6, Nylon 12 and Nylon 12CF
  • P400-SR – used with ABS P400 only
  • SR-20 – used with ABSplus, ABSi, ABS-M30, ABS-M30i, and PC-ABS
  • QSR – used with ABS-ESD7, ASA, PC-ABS, FDM TPU 92A

To sum up, the introduction of Stratasys’ dissolvable support for FDM 3D printing represents a significant breakthrough in the 3D printing field. This innovation addresses the challenge of removing support structures and unlocks fresh opportunities for intricate and elaborate designs.

Order Stratasys Soluble Supports

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Meet John Crouthamel

John works as a business development representative at AdvancedTek, where he assists clients in Iowa in discovering the unexplored possibilities of additive manufacturing. Despite being in the 3D printing industry for only a couple of years, he has spent over a decade working in manufacturing settings and enjoys utilizing his problem-solving skills, much like an engineer.

Outside of work John enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, riding his motorcycles, and tinkering with anything motorized.

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Posted by Heather Adams