Stratasys Mojo Rising with New 3D Printing System

The Mojo 3D Print Pack is aimed at professional designers performing concept modeling applications. It uses durable, thermoplastic material to create parts, which will allow parts to be used as functional prototypes, jigs and fixtures, or end-use parts.

In 2002, Stratasys sold 400 additive manufacturing machines. In 2011, the company grew that number to 14,114 machines. With the release of the Mojo 3D Print Pack, the company plans on doing much more business.

The Mojo 3D Print Pack is based on the traditional 2D printing interface and is designed to look and feel like a 2D printer. The complete system includes the printer, the printer engine, preprocessing software, a printer wizard, a control panel, and the new WaveWash 55 support-removal system in a much smaller envelope.

Companies have been competing in the “desktop printer� space for years, but with Mojo’s 50-pound design that sits in a 25� x 18� x 21� footprint, the printer is capable of sharing cube space (by comparison, the Dimension uPrint SE weighs 168 pounds and is 25� x 26� x37�). At a $9,900 price-point, the Mojo 3D Print Packis the lowest-priced, professional-grade, 3D printing system on the market.

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The build envelope initially seems small at 5� x 5� x 5�, but according to data Stratasys collected from three independent sources, 80 percent of parts built with fused deposition modeling (FDM), or stereolithography (SLA), fit within these measurements. Mojo prints objects in 0.007� layers of ivory P430 ABSplus with SR-30 support material that are both located and loaded above the build chamber.

Similar to a 2D printer, the print head snaps into place like an ink jet cartridge. The head is included as part of the recyclable print engine package, which also includes the 80 cubic inches of material. The material spool is larger than competing machines, offering longer run times, fewer material changes, and longer, uninterrupted printing.  According to Scott Crump, CEO, president, and chairman of the Stratasys board since the company’s inception in 1988, the new printer head was designed with customer impact in mind as “the head now only needs to last as long as the consumables [print engine package], simplifying the maintenance from the print engine.�

Support System 
Similar to a 2D printer, the print head snaps into place like an ink jet cartridge.

The WaveWash 55 support cleaning system has a carafe-like design that uses EcoWorks cleaning agent tablets formulated specifically for the one gallon system. The WaveWash requires no plumbing as the carafe is filled and drained manually, and parts can be added or removed at any time during the cleaning cycle. The support system removal varies depending on the part geometry.

Print Wizard

The print wizard is similar to the Catalyst software common in other 3D printers offered by the company and is optimized for Windows 7 — anApple equivalent is currently unavailable. The software provides a 3D view of the printing pack, thumbnails of STL files, 3D orientation previews, and real-time auto packing.

Users select an STL file via the thumbnail and have the ability to choose the support styles graphically. The wizard helps users choose manual orientations with a default setting that will choose the most efficient and sparse support system for the fastest build. The wizard also keeps the user informed on the amount of remaining material, and will not allow a build to proceed if the printer system doesn’t have enough material in the chamber.

“The interface is simple in terms of scale,� says Mary Stanley, 3D printing product manager. It makes it easy to scale parts and add multiple parts to the build. When the build envelope is full, the interface automatically creates a separate build. If the parts are too big for the envelope, the wizard automatically scales the model to fit. To build larger objects, the models need  to be spliced within CAD before they are imported.

Before each build, the wizard runs on-board diagnostics that include 
Figures on the dropping average sale price of 3D printers provided by Jon Cobb, Stratasys VP of global marketing.

:

  • Oven  Motor Heater Check.
  • Oven Motor RPM.
  • Liquefier Temperature Check.
  • System Voltage Check (Power Requirements: 6 A @ 100 to 127 VAC or 2.5 A 220 to 240 VAC — 50/60 Hz 600 W).
  • Door Sensor Check.

The control panel also displays:

  • Remaining model material.
  • Remaining support material.
  • Estimated print time.
  • Estimated model material.
  • Estimated support material.
  • Status indication via layer number (layer x out of …).

According to Global Marketing VP Jon Cobb, Stratasys is focused on putting products into professional spaces. He stresses that the new Mojo 3D printer is not a consumer product. “These are reliable products that are easy-to-use and office-friendly.â€?  For example, it doesn’t give off the sweet-smelling odor synonymous with 3D printing, and it produces little noise — equivalent to a soft hum. “ABS has allowed us to give the designer the capability to see how the part will fit with something else,â€? he continues. “We’re looking for professional designers, those who will use this technology on a daily basis.”

The potential user base is massive and largely untapped. The industry currently has five-to-seven million commercial MCAD seats in use. Another seven million users exist in the education market. The architecture engineering and construction market (AEC) adds more than six million untapped CAD users. “There is a huge amount of seats out there and only 50,000 machines have been sold,� says Cobb.

Test Run

 
The Mojo 3D Print Pack is based on the traditional 2D printing interface and it is designed to look and feel like a 2D printer.

Stratasys brought in additive manufacturing industry vet, Todd Grimm of T.A. Grimm and Associates, to give Mojo a test run. The company sat him in an empty office with a system packaged as it would arrive at any design firm, and offered him no assistance in the setup or print tests. As it turns out, little assistance was needed, which is important at the lower end of the market. “As you go lower in price, the less tolerant people are,â€? says Grimm. “But Mojo is transparent from setup to operation.”

Grimm found the setup to be “simple, quick, and easy.� He notes that 95 percent of purchasers will be able to complete setup and be ready to print parts in 45 minutes.  Initially, the build envelope caused a bit of trepidation for Grimm, but he is willing to stand by the company’s market research. He also anticipated a design that was 20 percent smaller in width and height, but he’ll have to wait for future iterations.

Grimm admits that it takes two people to get the printer out of the box, but from there he states that installation was “easier than setting up an all-in-one home printer.� Loading the software was driven by prompts, but as he read each line of the manual, it took him 30 minutes to complete. The average user could accomplish the task in 12 to 15 minutes.

He states that the graphical interface in the print wizard is intuitive and offers 3D part manipulation. In his experience, the software took 49 seconds to process his STL files. He adds that the interface offers two settings (support structure and orientation), and has a clean, uncluttered representation. The user must print in a solid (fixed) fill style, and Grimm was also troubled to see that Mojo offers no flag when a part is scaled to fit the build envelope.

Once Grim was ready to print his test part, Mojo took 2:37 to communicate with the computer, and printing started ten minutes after running the diagnostics check, calibration, and warmed the heat chamber. “Printing is quiet,â€? he says. “It just chugs along in the background.”

“In extrusion, routine maintenance is replacing tips,â€? he adds about the new printer head design above the heat chamber. “[Stratasys] has taken that away and removed an element that could cause poor part quality.â€?

According to Grimm, “Mojo is an exceptionally priced package and it will increase market share for Stratasys.� Grimm expects the Mojo printer to cannibalize the company’s Dimension uPrint SE business.

Jon Cobb responds, “Every time we introduce a new product there will be some cannibalization. If we don’t do it, somebody else will.� 

Pricing:

  • Mojo Printer: $9,500.
  • WaveWash 55: $1,000.
  • Print Pack: $9,900.
  • QuckPack Print Engines: $399 (works out to $5 per cubic inch of material).

The Mojo 3D printer begins shipping on June 15, 2012. Add this to a recent announcement that the company will merge with Israel-based 3D printing system and material manufacturer Objet, and the Stratasys mojo is clearly rising.

Watch a video of the Mojo 3D printer in action: http://pddnet.com/video-mojo-3d-printer-050812/.

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