uPrint SE Plus

Superusers:

  • Ivan Penskiy (ipenskiy@umd.edu)
  • Simpson Chen (abc1@umd.edu)

Important documents and useful links:

Overview:
This is an uPrint SE Plus Fused Deposition Modeling 3D (FDM) printer. FDM is an additive manufacturing process in which thermoplastic filament is heated up and extruded to build parts layer-by-layer. This printer is capable of printing ABSplus material at a reasonably high resolution.
Location:
Engineering Annex Building 093, Room 0305 (Realization room of RRL).

Printer specifications:

  • Maximum Build Size (XYZ): 203 x 203 x 152 mm (8 x 8 x 6 in.)
  • Minimum Layer Thickness: 0.254 mm (10 mil) OR 0.330 mm (13 mil)
  • Minimum Wall Thickness: 0.914 mm (36 mil) OR 1.194 (47 mil)
  • Model materials: ABSplus with multiple color options
  • Support material: proprietary soluble plastic

Reservation:

uPrint SE must be reserved before using. The reservation is done using the NanoCenter reservation system (see details in the Scheduling tab).
You will be able to reserve the equipment personally only after being trained on it.
Please estimate reservation times (they can be changed after the fact) and limit your reservations to a 8 hour maximum to ensure other users also have access to the system.

Video demonstration:

The following videos demonstrate capabilities and the main steps of operating uPrint SE:

Details of workflow

Part removal



Note: these are promotional and instructional videos. They are included for demonstrational purposes only. The details of actual operational procedures in RRL can differ!

Standard Operating Procedure:

  • Design for 3D printing
  • Transferring design
  • Preparing the printing job
  • Starting the print
  • Logging usage
  • Removing parts
  • Cleaning parts
Design for 3D printing:
Designs can be made in any software capable of saving models in STL format (e.g. AutoCad, SolidWorks, ProE, etc.). The computer connected to the 3D printer has no CAD software on it. Files must be brought over on a flash drive and cannot be edited at the 3D printer.
Remember to set the appropriate tolerances in your STL files: tolerances should be smaller than the smallest feature in your design. Don't make tolerances much smaller than 3D printer resolution. Also, be mindful that small tolerances produce larger files. See Stratasys-STL for more details on STL creation.
The minimum layer thickness of uPrint SE is 0.254 mm (10 mil). This corresponding in-plane resolution is just below 1 mm. This value is applicable for both minimum wall thickness (t) and minimum hole diameter (d).
Transferring design:
Log into the uPrint computer (Login: RRL StudentPass: RRL2014).
Save your files on the local drive: create your folder in "3D models\'your advisor's name'\'your name'" (located on Desktop) and save them there. 
IMPORTANT! The computer does not have access to the Internet, so don’t email the designs to yourself.
Preparing the printing job:
  1. Run CatalystEX 4.4 using the desktop shortcut.
  2. Choose "File" => "Open STL" to load your STL file. If you printed this model before and want to print it again, choose "Open CMB" and it will load the model directly with the previous orientation and settings.
  3. Go to the "General" tab and look at the "Properties" section
    • Layer resolution: 0.254 mm (10 mil) is the lowest (and default) resolution possible with the uPrint SE Plus.
    • Model interior: There are three settings: solid, sparse high density, and sparse low density. Sparse-high density is the default setting. It offers a good compromise between build time and the resulting structural strength of the part.
    • Support fill: There are three settings: SMARTbasic, and supportSMART is the default setting. It reduces the build time, minimizes the amount of support material used, and improves support removal for many parts.
    • STL units: Make sure that the units match the units of your STL file!
  4. Go to the "Orientation" tab and choose "Auto orient". The program then orients the model to minimize the support material and build time. You can choose from options A, B, and C that the software generates. If the automatic orientation does not satisfy your requirements, perform the manual orientation using other controls.
  5. After orienting, choose "Process STL". This will automatically save a CMB file that can be loaded next time to print the same model.
  6. Choose "Add to Pack" and go to the "Pack" tab.
  7. Insert the modeling base in the uPrint. Turn the blue handles to lock it in place.
  8. Position the model on the pack according to the unused space on the modeling base. Try choosing the optimal location to maximize the remainder area. 
  9. Go to the "Printer Status" tab. Make sure that your job has the green dot next to it. If not, then you can move your job up the queue.
  10. Go back to the "Pack" tab and press "Print".
Starting the print:
  1. Go to the uPrint machine and make sure the display window shows your job's name.
  2. Press "Start model" on the machine. It will take the machine around 10 minutes to calibrate and heat up.
  3. If you are the last one to use the uPrint or it is late at night, press "Auto power down" and turn the power switch to the OFF position. The printer will automatically shutdown after the printing job is done.
  4. Once the printing started, make sure that the printed support material does not turn yellow. If it does, the adhesion to the modeling base might fail and the printing job would have to be restarted.
Logging usage:
Open Excel file "Usage.xlsx" on the desktop and fill out a new line with the required information (your name, advisor, etc). Record the amount of model material and support material to be used by your model. This information is listed in the "Pack details":
Removing parts:
  1. Open uPrint and remove the modeling base with printed parts.
  2. Flex the modeling base to initiate the delamination of supporting material.
  3. If the parts can not be easily removed, used the scraper to pry off the printed parts. 
  4. Close uPrint and turn it off.
  5. Lock the computer.
Cleaning parts:
In many cases the support material can be broken away manually using hand tools (e.g. pliers, chisel, small screwdriver, etc.). If breakaway process is impossible, the support material can be dissolved in the support cleaning apparatus (SCA-1200). SCA is located in the same room as uPrint SE (Room 0305, Engineering Annex building).
SCA-1200 features 31.5 liter tank where water solution of WaterWorks concentrate is heated up to 70 deg C and circulated around. To use the apparatus follow the steps: 
  1. Turn ON the switch in the back and press "On/Off" button to start heating and circulating the water solution.
  2. Open the lid.
  3. Place your parts in the metal basket.
  4. Lower the basket in the solution using large tweezers. 
  5. Close the lid.
  6. It would take approximately an hour for the tank to reach the working temperature. Then, it would take 1-2 hours to dissolve the supporting material depending on the amount.

File preparation:

This website can give you some sense of your material volume to give a cost (and time) estimate.

Troubleshooting:

Some of the potential problems and their solutions are listed below. If an unlisted error occurs, stop and take a picture of the error, and contact the lab manager. If necessary, turn off the printer.
  1. After you begin the printing process, there is a calibration error
    • Check that the modeling base is secure and locked into place
    • Check that there is no support/model material left on top of the base
    • Take out modeling base and insert it back in. Try printing again.
    • If it still doesn't work, switch out the modeling base for another one and try again. Contact the lab manager if nothing works.
  2. The support material turns yellow during printing
    • Proceed printing but with caution. Keep an eye on the adhesion of the support layer. Contact the lab manager and notify about the incident.
  3. When turning on the uPrint, there is an error during startup that says "Shutting down".


    • Then after pressing continue, the screen says "Material error".


    • Turn off the printer and contact the lab manager

Study guide for training:

Read this SOP!