by General Fabb
It was only a matter of time before someone began producing "clone" plastic materials for high-end 3D printers. That's the business of Swiss-based ISQUARED, who produce "high quality FDM filament at fair prices". They say: "Our products are 100% compatible with OEM parts."
Currently, ISQUARED offers material evidently compatible with the following devices:
- Dimension BST 768, SST 768, BST 1200, SST 1200, BST 1200es and SST 1200es
- FDM Titan, Vantage, Maxum and Quantum
- Fortus 200mc, 360mc, 400mc and 900mc
You'll have to request pricing directly from them, but they say they guarantee savings of up to "40% in individual cases".
What colors are offered? ISQUARED provides black, grey, blue, white, red, yellow, green and natural. They'll also produce custom colors for you based on a sample you provide. No word on the fee for this service, but it could be quite useful to some.
They do not offer the water-soluble support material used by Stratasys machines. Instead they offer a "break away" support material that may be problematic depending on the geometry of your model. In other words, you can't break away support material that's embedded within the interior of the model!
ISQUARED also offers laser sintering material, but they provide no description or model compatibility information, other than "EOS and 3D Systems".
There is no information from ISQUARED about the effects on your Stratasys warranty when using their products. It's conceivable that use of them might void your warranty, but that would be something for Stratasys to declare. Meanwhile, it's up to you whether you'd like to take that risk.
Use of these materials could be a very significant saving for heavy users - and no doubt a problem for Stratasys if this approach catches on.