FDM Support Removal with PostProcess Technologies

   By TriMech Marketing on April 27, 2023

PostProcess Technologies offers a range of additive post-processing equipment, but this article focuses on automated FDM support removal. We’ll be looking at some of the most common ways people are traditionally cleaning FDM parts today and then looking at some more advanced ways that are automated and intelligent with post process, like the BASE system. As well as covering frequently asked questions.

What are the key benefits of your FDM support removal systems?

Our spray technology really has two main advantages. One is the cycle time. We are 10 to 12 times faster than submerged systems, but the other is the safety side of it, especially when it comes to detergent handling. With our spray systems, the detergent is automatically dosed into the system. The five-gallon jugs of detergent behind the system are connected with a Dosatron. So, if you have incoming water, the system’s software measures the level and gauges if the detergent is too low, and then will automatically dose in the detergent.

Another big benefit is that it’s a spray system and not a bath, so your user isn’t standing over a giant bath of caustic material. Health and Safety departments really like that because it leads to less risk of exposure.

Do the spray nozzles reach intricate geometries to remove supports?

For most parts, if you just have external geometries, this does a very good job of covering even the sides of it with detergent. As you can imagine, it is spraying on the part and it’s a lot of volume of liquid too, so that you’re getting that kind of full effect of getting detergent sprayed all over. But when you have a long flexible spray nozzle like this, you can actually target internal geometries and you can have some agitation going on inside to clear them out.

PostProcess BASE FDM support removal machine

Adding Parts to the BASE

What does a normal cycle look like on this system?

This is a unique part here, especially since you can see all of the support material on the inside here. There’s no way you could break that off by hand. And even though this is kind of a smaller part, this would still take something about four or five hours in a soak tank, just to get rid of that big bulk amount of support material. But in a spray system like this, it should only take about 20 to 25 minutes. Again, it’s very easy to set up. I don’t have to affix it to anything since I’m not using the nozzles and I don’t have to block it to make sure it doesn’t move.

PostProcess

PostProcess Interface

Do I need any special hookups to run the BASE system?

We require power, but in addition, we also need an incoming water source as well. The water doesn’t need to be filtered or pressurized. It can just be city water. But that water will be flowing through our Dosatrons, combining with, and mixing with the detergent. Because this system is completely enclosed, it does not require drainage.

Given the volumetric dimensions of the BASE, can it handle large, oversized parts?

Yes, absolutely. Because these systems were specifically designed for additive, we designed them for some of the most common print technologies on the market for the best possible FDM support removal.

The Base can handle parts off a F900 or F770 with ease. By using the Base you’re increasing the part finishing efficiency. It’s perfect for the oversized parts, because it cuts down the long processing soak times of traditional soak tanks. The big bulky parts usually require more supports and often have bigger internals.

PostProcess VORSA FDM support removal

Inside the VORSA 500

In addition to the Base, though, we also have a VORSA 500. Which has the exact same spray technology and benefits, but with a smaller footprint at 16 and a half inches cubed. This system is perfect for your Fortus 450mc or for multiple F370s or even for big batch prints of smaller parts on the F900 series. Again, same technology, but a slightly different form factor as you’re placing parts in your rack here to process them.

If you’d like more information on automated FDM support removal systems, reach out to our team for additional guidance.

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