To illustrate the advantages of FDM, Gary
Hansen, vice president and chief technology
officer for RedDOT, offers the example of a
customer who provided the geometry of a
housing with three components that needed to mate with a rubber bulb seal. RedDOT made a rapid
prototype using the customer’s dimensions and it did not seal properly.
Building a single variation of all three components of the housing would have cost $3,000 from an SLS
service bureau or taken 120 hours and $1,000 in material to produce with FDM. So the company made
a much smaller prototype with four variations of depths and widths for the groove that controls the
compression to mate with the seal.
The FDM prototype of the four variations took only 2.5 hours and
$10 of material. The Fortus system has reduced the cost of building the complete three-component
housing by $2,000 and the leadtime by 3 weeks compared with using a service bureau.
“The Stratasys solution of being able to make production-grade components one-off enables us
to deliver functional prototypes to customers at a much faster speed,” Hansen concluded. “FDM
prototypes are more useful than the SLA and SLS prototypes because they can be used for physical
testing and even given to customers as components on valuation units. This means that we are nearly
certain to get the design right the first time so we can keep customers happy and start generating