Title page for ETD etd-03242000-10440034

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Brockmeier, Oivind
Author's Email Address oivindbrockmeier@hotmail.com
URN etd-03242000-10440034
Title Automated Loading and Unloading of the Stratasys FDM 1600 Rapid Prototyping System
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bohn, Jan Helge Committee Chair
Saunders, William R. Committee Member
Sturges, Robert H. Committee Member
  • Solid Freeform Fabrication
  • Automation
  • Layered Manufacturing
  • Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
  • Continuous Layered Manufacturing (CLM)
Date of Defense 2000-03-22
Availability unrestricted
Rapid prototyping systems have advanced significantly with respect to material

capabilities, fabrication speed, and surface quality. However, build jobs are still manually

activated one at a time. The result is non-productive machine time whenever an operator

is not at hand to make a job changeover. A low-cost auxiliary system, named Continuous

Layered Manufacturing (CLM), has been developed to automatically load and unload the

FDM 1600 rapid prototyping system (Stratasys, Inc.). The modifications made to the

FDM 1600 system are minimal. The door to the FDM 1600 build chamber is removed,

and the .SML build files that are used to drive the FDM 1600 are modified at both ends to

facilitate synchronized operation between the two systems. The CLM system is capable

of running three consecutive build jobs without operator intervention. As long as an

operator removes finished build jobs, and adds new build trays before at most every three

build jobs, the FDM can operate near indefinitely. The impact of the CLM system on the

productivity of the FDM 1600 rapid prototyping system is demonstrated by the expected

reduction from the customary eight weeks down to a future three and one-half weeks

required to complete the typical forty build jobs during a semester in the course ME 4644

Introduction to Rapid Prototyping at Virginia Tech.

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