RE: [rp-ml] Comparison of Stratasys FDM Parts Quality Compared to Lower Cost FDM Type Systems

From: Olaf Diegel <>
Date: Mon May 07 2012 - 23:35:13 EEST

Hi Doug,

Yes, I've run parts on pretty much all the systems (reprap, Makerbot, BFB, Up, and Dimension).

In general, the parts from the repraps, and Makerbots, are borderline. With a lot of tweaking you can get parts that are just useable but, if you look at the machine sideways, or move it, you have to tweak all your settings again. The machines are absolutely fantastic for educational purposes, though.

The BFB, though originally based on a reprap, has evolved quite a bit, and the quality of the mechanisms on the latest ones is good, so it prints generally useable parts. But it does require a bit of tweaking on the settings. The support material generation also needs a bit more work, I think.

The Up, in my opinion, is probably currently the best of the low-end desktop machines as it produces usually good parts, straight out of the box.

There seems to be certain geometries that these printers can struggle to produce well. The Up, for example, struggles to produce the bottom sections of sphere smoothly. You will find each of the printers has certain shapes that it just doesnt like much...

In direct comparison with the more expensive FDM machines like the Dimesnions, the parts are, quite simply, not as good in surface quality. So it all depends on what level of prototyping you need. If it's just to trial the vast majority of ideas, then probably the BFB or Up would do the job fine. But, if it's to produce larger 'finished' prototypes then one of the more expensive systems is the one to go with.

But... The Dimesnions costs about 12 to 15 times more to run than the low-end machines. The material is typically close to US$1000/KG (once you include build and support material, print platforms, solluble support powder), compared to between $50~$100/Kg for the desktop machines.

So for quick 'student' level prototypes, the low-end machines is what I would recommend (we let out students run those free of charge). And, with a bit of primer/sanding/painting you can get perfect parts.

But, is you want parts with a better surface finish straight off the machine, then the high end ones are the ones to go for.



From: [] on behalf of Chathamres []
Sent: Tuesday, 8 May 2012 3:42 a.m.
Subject: [rp-ml] Comparison of Stratasys FDM Parts Quality Compared to Lower Cost FDM Type Systems

Has anyone compared the quality of parts made on a newer Stratasys FDM compared to the same part made from any of the lower cost FDM systems (e.g., RepRap)? If so, could you share the results with the list or us?


Received on Mon May 07 23:36:02 2012

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Fri Mar 29 2013 - 15:24:46 EET