Calibrating the Stratasys Fortus 450mc 3D Printer

Article by Eissa Ahmad, last updated on March 19, 2018

Take designs from virtual to real in hours, not weeks. From functional prototypes with exacting tolerances, to manufacturing tools that perform under pressure, the Stratasys Fortus 450mc 3D production system sets a high bar for speed, performance and accuracy.

The Fortus 450mc provides three distinct advantages: a larger build envelope at 406 x 355 x 406 mm (16 x 14 x 16 in.), additional bays for material and support delivery canisters, plus the ability to print in ULTEM material.

Calibrating the Fortus 450mc is a 3-step process and takes around 10 to 15 minutes depending on the state of calibration.

Step 1: The Calibration Square

The calibration square displays the accuracy of the printer in terms of layer thickness and x/y reference calibration. It is a good idea to check the calibration of the printer on a regular basis to make sure it remains accurate to the build plate. During print jobs, the Fortus 450mc may shake and vibrate, which could cause slight offsets in both axes.

Looking at the calibration square a little closer, we can see labels from 0 to 8 on each axis, a large square with two rails, and a smaller square with one layer of support material on top.

450 MC Calibration Square

450 MC Calibration Square

Step 2: What to Look For

In between the rails of the larger square lies a single thread of support material. The thread transitions between the inner and outer rail at two points of the square. The midpoints of the transition need to be at a maximum of 2 on any axis for the printer to be calibrated. Below is an illustration of what to look for:

450 MC Calibration Square 2.jpg

The support thread transitions from the outer box to the inner box. If the transition is at 2 or less, the printer is calibrated.

This step may end up being repeated multiple times before the thread transitions in the right region, and that’s fine. Each time you enter values into the printer, it gets more and more accurate for the following calibration squares. Once the thread is in the right region, its time for the next aspect of the calibration: layer thickness.

450 MC Calibration Square split line

450 MC Calibration Square split line

Pull the support square from the smaller square. Use a set of calipers to measure the thickness of the layer. The thickness to look for will change depending on what layer thickness you had set before. Again, the more calibration squares you print, the more accurate the printer becomes.

Step 3: Adjusting the Wipers

Use the dials located on the top right of the material bays to adjust the height of the wipers. The wipers should just brush the ends of the tips, no more and no less. The dials have a very low sensitivity, which allows for super accurate adjustments.

450 MC dials

Fortus 450mc dials

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Eissa Ahmad

Eissa is an Additive Manufacturing Intern Applications Engineer at Javelin Technologies. Studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Automation Engineering Technology at McMaster University.

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