Another heretofore unfinished old post, this one from January 2010:
I was over at the aviation department last week and happened upon the installation of a new Stratasys rapid-prototyping machine.
It has a much larger build chamber than NIAR’s previous ABS machine — this one is something like 14″ x 14″ x 18″.
The case was open and I was intrigued by the thick blanket of insulation around the build chamber. I asked the installer if the whole chamber was heated and he said yes, to 80°C. Interesting point of reference, as RepRap / CupCake owners seem to have settled on 60°C as the standard temperature for heated build platforms.
It was fairly dark inside the build chamber and I couldn’t get a great shot with my cell phone camera, but you can see the extrusion head with two nozzles for support and build material. I found it interesting how extremely broad and shallow the white nozzle cones are — maybe it helps prevent snags?
With the lab manager’s blessing, I fished two filament strands out of the trash. The upper, black filament is ABS; the lower, translucent brown filament is a dissolvable support material that apparently washes out in an agitated hot water and detergent bath. Wish I knew exactly what it was!
I measure the diameter at .070″ ± .001″ ≈ 1.778mm ≈ 1.75mm ≈ .069″, so it looks like they’re using 1.75mm filament. The stretched section on the end is recognizable as having been in the hot end and then backed out.
Note the toothmarks all the length of each filament (about 3m), suggesting that either something is pushing the filament from that far back or (more likely) the hot end has a quick-release for cleaning and this filament was run through the machine after removing the hot end.