Blaster media Fuse 1 series

Greetings earthlings.

We are running three Fuse 1 printers and 1 blast cabinet from Normfinish 3D Solid Clean

We are having some issues with the media. The media we are using are wearing out very fast (like within 3 hours of blasting) and the filter in the Normfinish blaster does not do a very good job of filtering the powder from the media.

As im troubleshooting this i started to wonder what you lot are using,

So im asking you sls gurus out there in the wild, what media sizes are you using and do you use it for cleaning or polishing?

Thank you and i hope you are all well and wish you a happy holiday in advance.

Best regards.

For reference:
Blasting media: Glassbeads 300-400µm
Material used is PA12 Nylon GF

We are having great success with Nylon 12 GF blasting it with Glass Bead, 90-120


Yes… the media does get contaminated often with the SLS dust… but we factor this in to the “already high cost of parts” running this system… I try to put just enough media in to do a few chambers of parts but we are replacing the blast media frequently.

Then we blow them off with an air compressor and run them for 25 minutes at 195 degrees F in a commercial restaurant steam cooker

Like this one

We went with the Graphite colored Die versus the Black as it seemed to look better on the parts in our opinion. I’ve only cleaned the tank out once in the past year… I just add a splash of die once in a while to freshen it up with the dish soap and white vinegar already in it. If the parts start to come out “green” or discolored I flush out the tank and reset it.

We rack em on the included rack or use baskets for smaller parts

Then we pull them out and rinse them off then we blow them off quick with the air compressor to then set them up with a fan on them till they dry.

If the Fuse 1+ is behaving … this finishing process has been flawless.

Then we bag em

More than what you asked for… but yea we go through a lot of glass bead but I also blast our CNC aluminum parts in the same blast cabinet. So, I am already cycling out the glass bead frequently and replacing it with Garnett and so on…

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Good morning @LEADNAV

Thank you for this, very much detailed description of your process.

We have a larger scale production so this would not work for us.

But always interesting to see how other manufacturers go about their processes.

Cheers Leadnav.

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@LEADNAV

Are you blasting by hand?

Would you mind posting a closer photo of your final surface finish and color?

Thanks

Maybe you could try VIBRATORY TUMBLING

Examples of Glass bead blasting and Rit Dye


Thanks. Those look great.

We just got the Blast and have been really happy with the surface finish we have been getting so far.

I have a few questions for you @tim_terrax

Is the blast locked to Formlabs own blasting medium? (Concidering this is Formlabs we are talking about. Nylon PA12 and PA12GF cough)
(I think i know the answer already but nothing surprises me anymore)
IF YES: Do you need RFID Cards to load it?
IF NO: Good riddance. :wink:

Do you feel that the basket is hard to access when filling/removing goods?

Do you feel that the blaster is built solid or is it flimsy in any way?

Does the overall qualilty feel worth the investment?

Why am i asking?

Well, we run our printers basically 24/7 and are soon in need of another blaster. So ofc we were intrigued by the Formlabs Fuse Blast.
But seeing how insanely overpriced the powder is for the printers, im hesistant to anything Formlabs until the prices comes down on powder.

Wow…the first Blast I’ve heard of in the wild… be curious to see how that goes…

Not really an option for us in a small shop and with our current Skat Blast cabinet as we weekly switch out media from Glass bead (SLS) to Garnet Sand (Aluminum parts prep for Cerakote).

Can’t really beat a Skat Blast cabinet and we had this same cabinet for nearly a decade and it’s very clean and easy to maintain and swap media out.

I’m looking at that Blast and at $10k+ I’m just seeing sooooo many “one off” components that will need replaced regularly.

For instance…

  • Interested in what nozzles they are using and how much Formlabs charges you for replacements.
  • All that awesome bright lighting inside the cabinet… we put Clear packaging tape over our internal lights as we have to tear off and replace this regularly. If you don’t…your lights typically get “blasted” very quickly.
  • Filters…I’m sure that custom cabinet has a few "Formlabs filters in it.
  • Ionizer… not sure I ever felt we needed one as our parts get blown off with the air compressor and come out spotless but I’m wandering how or what that will provide and how long it will last before replacement
  • That nice basket liner…this material is readily available but wandering how much Formlabs charges for a replacement.

Looks like a cool unit but to us not a $10k one with the upkeep I imagine it will require versus a standard metal cabinet with readily available replacement components…that would last you till the end of time.

Also, I don’t see the automation of it beneficial to us at all except for our smaller accessories and components as 90% of our parts need internal blasting with half of them also requiring us to push a scribe through some of the smaller bolt holes in order to get the media to start blasting the holes out fully.

However, you getting this has led me to ordering one of these today…that I plan to put the same liner in and try within my current blast cabinet

Tumbler <---------

Pretty excited for that now actually for our smaller parts!!

Overall… it definitely isn’t the “waste of blast media” killing this system…it’s the overall cost of Nylon 12 and especially GF powder! So, trying to sell us a $10k+ blast cabinet and trying to tell us “you won’t have to Sift the preciuos left over powder from your parts as hard”…just throw that in the trash as you are already only able to realistically do a 70% refresh anyway… is not really selling it for me Haha

(Formlabs…lower your powder price costs and this is a completely different system and it fixes everything to do with failed print jobs and the actual refresh rates being much higher than you all advertise)

But definitely interested in hearing your experiences with it over the next few months for sure.

This is exactly the kind of crap I expected from formlabs. Additional additional costs for special blast media, nozzles, filters and much more. When formlabs announced the Fuse Blast, a colleague and I argued about how much it would cost. A fully automatic sandblasting system with a huge chamber can be had for as little as $4,000. I thought to myself, this is a formlbas, so they will ask for 5000, 6000 USD at the most. However, no one expected the price to be the same as FUSE 1 when it was announced 5 years ago. Incredibly. I’m using 3 sandblasting stations at the moment. One with formlabs powder, where I clean the parts easily and perfectly from the powder, the other with glass balls, where I give the parts a final look. I still have a problem only with the black coloring. The third blasting device is for metal parts. Formlabs fuse blast doesn’t really make sense. It is only an attraction for uninformed companies.

Is the blast locked to Formlabs own blasting medium?
No, we are using 300 micron glass bead from Grainger that they list on their ‘Approved Distributors for Supplies’ List

Do you feel that the basket is hard to access when filling/removing goods?
No, the unit is easy to load/unload. We are still experimenting with part quantity in the basket as well as run times.

Do you feel that the blaster is built solid or is it flimsy in any way?
Overall with our limited use with it, it seems to be a pretty solid unit. We will see how different parts hold up over time.

Does the overall quality feel worth the investment?
For us, this has been a game changer for our post processing. We were using a skat blast cabinet with 80 grit glass bead and then tumbling in a vibratory tumbler with different medias to get the surface finish we are looking for. It was a very labor intensive and loud process for us. We have yet to experience the “polishing” add-on that formlabs has planned for the blast, but right now we are getting a very nice slight sheen on our parts which we are happy with eliminating the tumbling step we were doing.

The powder waste separation feature seems to be working good so far, our blast media looks clean and the waste hopper makes it easy to dispose of the separated nylon powder.

There are certainly some proprietary consumables in the machine, which over time we may regret.

P.S. We also wish the Formlabs powder was cheaper.

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Thank you for your most outstanding reply. Much appreciated.

Hey Tim - Nick here from Formlabs. We just released a new program for powder pricing in production applications based on feedback like yours. Happy to chat w/ you about it. Just shoot me a note at nick.graham@formlabs.com.

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