4 Tips to Improve Build Speed on FDM Machines

By TriMech on

In the 3D printing world, speed is directly correlated with revenue. Not only do we want to improve time to market, but we also want to be the most efficient with our employees’ and machines’ time. To help put time back on your clock, we compiled a list of four tips for designing parts and prepping files to be printed on a Stratasys FDM 3D printer

Tip 1: Use Sparse Mode Instead of Solid Where Possible

FDM has the option to change build styles, allowing more control over product cost and build time. One option is to print a solid fill part, which fills it completely with material. The other alternative is sparse fill, which is printed with multiple contours, or the honeycomb effect. Not only do sparse parts cut down on the time it takes to print, but they also cuts down on materials used, which is healthier on your cost-per-part. Win-win! 

Tip 2: Choose a Thicker Layer and a Larger Nozzle

A time-saving setting you can change on your 3D printer is layer thickness. Layer thickness is the height that each layer will be printed. Increasing layer thickness or nozzle size can speed up build time by allowing more material to be released. In turn, this means you won’t have to trace the cross sections as many times. However, this tip that doesn’t work well for prints with heavy details.

Tip 3: Design/Orient Parts to Prevent Any 45 Degree Surfaces

When you design a part that contains a 45 degree angle or higher, support material will be required to keep your print from drooping on the print tray. Instead of just being able to print you part, you now have the added time of printing the support material around it as well. 

Parts with 45 Degree Surfaces and Higher Require Support Material

Tip 4: Print More Than One Part

Maximizing your build tray is another key element that improves build speed on FDM machines. If two parts are able to fit on a build tray, print them both at once. This requires less trips to the purge bucket, which adds up on tall models. To do this, use the function center and arrange in your slicing software. However, do keep in mind that this requires both print jobs to use the same filaments.

Still have questions about build time? Download our white paper to see all factors that play into print speed and which Stratasys technology is faster.