Stratasys Launches Support Style For Part Building

Stratasys has introduced a part support style for the FDM process called Smart Supports. Part supports are temporary structures used during the modelling or production process to support features such as overhangs. This disposable material is also used to fill clearance space between two moving parts during their creation. The Smart Supports build style is a standard function that is integral to the Catalyst EX 4.1 or Insight 7.0 software upgrades.

The support style is a method of generating supports that uses less material during the part-building process. Smart Supports is claimed to reduce build time by up to 14 per cent and lower material cost by reducing consumption up to 40 per cent. It is also said to improve the support removal process for many parts, including reducing material removal time. Smart Supports are a user-selectable option for all Dimension 3D printers and Fortus 3D production systems. To reduce the material used, the Smart Supports function uses a wide spacing between tool-path rasters and changes the shape of the support region.

As the supports descend from the underside of the part feature to the base of the supports, the support region shrinks and transforms to a simpler shape to reduce both the material used and the build time. Smart Supports works similar to classic arch design in architecture, in which columns support layers of bricks that get progressively wider, so that the narrow columns can support a structure much wider and heavier at the top.

Stratasys will continue to offer customers a variety of support style choices, including basic, sparse and surround. The Smart Supports build style is not available for the Dimension Elite's 0.007in (0.178mm) layer thickness option. All Stratasys customers currently under warranty or maintenance contracts will receive Smart Supports with their Catalyst EX 4.1 or Insight 7.0 upgrades.


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