Disclaimer: I work for Stratasys and played a major role in getting these 3D printers approved for FIRST Choice. My words here are my own and in no way represent Stratasys.
I know there are a few threads where these printers are discussed already, I wanted to separate this information to ensure it is read by teams interested in the Stratasys printers on FIRST Choice. First off, I am excited that these printers are on FIRST Choice! As a student in the program back in 2010, I dreamed of having a Stratasys printer, but a lot has changed since 2010 and there is a lot more competition on the market. I hope that this donation spurs the Stratasys leadership team to work with FIRST more in the future and perhaps donate some more affordable printers and materials. As someone knowledgeable in Stratasys 3D printers, I wanted to point out a few key points that may be missed by teams.
- There is no included soluble support removal tank, the supports are still breakaway, so the system still functions without issue. I attempted to find a supplier willing to donate 50 support removal tanks but could not find a supplier able to commit to manufacturing 50 for donation purposes. The suppliers that were willing to offer discounts (and therefore may do so for teams/EDU) are Oryx Additive and Omegasonics.
- Materials are expensive if you purchase directly from Stratasys. I’ve seen some unique solutions to lower the cost around Ebay and elsewhere on the internet, the enterprising team should be able to find a solution for lower-cost materials. However be aware that doing this may invalidate the warranty mentioned below.
- The system comes with a 1-year warranty, meaning any issues in the first year are covered by Stratasys.
- You’ll notice there is a lack of reselling guidelines on the FIRST Choice page, if you can’t afford the materials another great option would be to resell the printer as a way to raise funds for your team. I know my team discussed doing this!
- The Fortus250mc and Dimension 1200es SST are almost identical, the biggest difference is the software used between the two. Both printers can use GrabCAD Print but the Fortus250mc can also use Insight to prepare files, which offers some additional flexibility to your slice settings. That being said, do not expect to have access to all slice settings like you would with low-cost desktop models on the market as we have tuned our slice settings to work reliably and repeatedly for every model printed.
Finally, we are working with the FIRST Tech Challenge team Iron Gears from Minnesota to host a virtual tour of our North American Subsidiary Headquarters (NASH) on December 2nd. Colton and I (both FIRST Alumni at Stratasys) will be detailing all Stratasys solutions (FDM, PolyJet, P3, SAF and SLA) with the support of other Stratasys engineers. Be sure to tune into the Iron Gears youtube channel from 5-7pm CST on December 2nd if you’re interested in learning more.