Alternative Industrial Filaments

By on December 14th, 2015 in materials


A vendor provides plug-compatible plastic filament for commercial FDM machines, but there could be a risk in using them. 

Canada-based Argyle Materials offers what appears to be a near-complete set of filaments for Stratasys’ uPrint, Dimension and Fortus series of FDM equipment. 

Of course, most equipment operators will use standard Stratasys spools and canisters and enjoy very high quality results. The problem is that these materials are pretty high-priced. 

Some operators may wish to experiment with alternative sources, such as Argyle Materials, who says their products are “up to 38%” less expensive than “OEM” materials. And some of their  material canisters seem to include more material than the stock cartridges. 

But wait, you may ask how Argyle can do this, technically, as all Stratasys equipment includes chip readers that interact with chips on the canisters to keep track of material and verify correctness. Argyle says: 

Argyle Materials provides a Direct Plug & Play Refill Alternative to OEM Materials for your machine.

No modifications or re-calibrations of your machine are required; the supplied EEPROM ensures that Argyle Materials products will run seemlessly on your machine.

So it seems that Argyle Materials has reverse engineered the chip protocol on Stratasys equipment and thus their pools and canisters likely appear quite usable to the equipment. 

You could save a bundle of cash by using these materials, but there may be a risk, too. It’s possible that your Stratasys warranties might be invalidated by use of non-standard materials. However, for some operations, the cost savings might overcome that risk. 

Via Argyle Materials

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!