Stratasys Ltd. introduced a new ABS-based carbon fiber material for its line of F123 Series 3D printers, which handle composite materials. Carbon fiber materials have proven extremely popular on Stratasys’ industrial-scale FDM 3D printers for a variety of end-use applications such as jigs, fixtures, and tooling. With FDM ABS-CF10, Stratasys now makes carbon fiber more accessible to the engineering and manufacturing community using the F170, F270, and F370 3D printers.
The material properties of FDM ABS-CF10, with 10% chopped carbon fiber, make it an alternative to metal parts. The material is 15% stronger and more than 50% stiffer than standard ABS, without the weight of metal, and can be printed with a high degree of accuracy. The use of QSR Support water-soluble material lets users 3D print intricate and complex parts without time-consuming manual support removal.
In military application
UK-based Marshall Aerospace and Defense Group specializes in the conversion and modification of military, civil, and business aircraft, along with defense vehicle engineering and shelter manufacturing. The company uses both Fortus 450mc and F370 3D printers for a variety of tooling applications.
“All the tooling we create has different and often unique requirements,” said Chris Botting, materials and environmental engineering manager at Marshall. “Our F370 3D printers offer us the flexibility to choose from a variety of materials based on application demands while still producing functional parts. 3D printing parts that we historically would have made of metal has led to a significant cost reduction compared to machining the part out of aluminum, while reducing overall part weight. We can’t wait to begin to realize the benefits of FDM ABS-CF10 for creating manufacturing aids like we have with our other carbon fiber materials.”
Shifting from polymer to composite materials
Stratasys’ internal analysis suggests the additive manufacturing market for polymer jigs and fixtures is expected to grow at a 14.2% annual rate between 2019 and 2023, to nearly $600 million, double the growth rate of the prior four years. With its FDM ABS-CF10 material, Stratasys is focused on addressing applications in the aerospace, automotive, industrial, and recreational manufacturing industries. Parts applications include end effectors used with industrial robots, ergonomic aids such as lift assists and hand tools, and alignment fixtures on assembly lines.
The FDM ABS-CF10 material is scheduled to be available in April 2021, and orders are being taken now. Learn more about carbon fiber material for the F123 Series online.