CHICAGO (June 22, 4:35 p.m. EDT) — Stratasys Inc. (Booths N4796, E10518) of Eden Prairie, Minn., is demonstrating a less than $30,000 printer that builds three-dimensional models using ABS engineering resin. Machines with comparable capabilities and resin, paper or starch output often cost at least $70,000.
With a desktop Dimension printer, a designer or engineer can create a 3-D, solid-model drawing using computer-aided-design software and transform the concept into a sturdy plastic component in as little as an hour, Jon Cobb, vice president and general manager of 3D printing, said by telephone. The printer can duplicate 80 percent of the characteristics of an injection molded part.
“Instead of using rapid prototyping in later stages, we moved it up in the process to allow a designer to interact with a model that could be passed along to the entire team including vendors,” Cobb said.
Spooled filament in a cartridge feeds the print head, which heats and softens the ABS. The machine extrudes the ABS with a thickness of 0.0001 inch and builds layers to create the part.
Dimension debuted in February 2002, and Stratasys sold more than 300 of the new systems out of total sales of 463 units last year. The other sales were mainly rapid-prototyping devices for manufacturing environments. Stratasys markets Dimension printers through CAD resellers.
Stratasys employs about 200 and had 2002 sales of $39.8 million with about one-half in the domestic market.
Stratasys donated a Dimension printer and the necessary volume of ABS for the new Toymaker 3000 exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.