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Nov 15

GrabCAD Print and Stratasys FDM Printers: Why Use GrabCAD Print?

GrabCAD Print provides Stratasys users with a straightforward workflow that is designed to simplify the process of going from design to printed product. Since its launch, GrabCAD has been steadily updated with increasing support for all Stratasys printers; though Polyjet support is currently limited users of the Stratasys J750 and Objet 1000Plus printers, on the FDM side of things the list of supported printers is much more comprehensive.

A screenshot of file preparation for the Fortus 900 using GrabCAD Print

As GrabCAD Print has been rolled out, many users have wondered how the software integrates into their normal workflow, and are comfortable with the familiarity offered by Catalyst/Insight & Control Centre. After putting some miles on, we can confidently say that it is worth adopting GrabCAD Print as your primary printing software. Whether you are working in a single-user, single-printer scenario, or with multiple printers and/or locations, GrabCAD Print has featues that benefit all types of users users. Over the next few weeks, we'll be taking the time to dive into the use of this awesome software, and provide you with the resources to help you get started with GrabCAD Print.

Why Use GrabCAD Print?

A common question we receive from Fortus users who are familiar with Insight and Control Centre is: why use GrabCAD print at all? Users of the Idea and Design Series FDM printers - such as the F Series, 1200es, and uPrints - will find that GrabCAD print fully supports their printer, and actually provides a more comprehensive feature-set than Catalyst.

Moving to Production Series machines - the Fortus 380mc, 450mc, and 900mc - GrabCAD print provides a powerful alternative to the traditional Insight - Control Centre workflow. Even in a setting with a single printer and single user, this software has benefits over previous offerings. Here are some of our team's favourite features - not found in Catalyst/Insight/Control Centre - that, in our opinion, make it worth the switch.

Cimetrix's Take: Why You Should Switch

One-Step Workflow: Once GrabCAD Print allows users to get their parts printing with a single step - users can even print directly from their CAD suite. Simply import your CAD, select your printer and configure the print parameters from a single screen, and then hit print. Plus, GrabCAD print is CAD agnostic, supporting the native formats of Solidworks, Catia, NX, Inventor, and Creo.


Analysis Mode: When importing STL files, GrabCAD Print automatically reviews each file for any errors. We've been putting this feature through its paces over the last few months, and even fed the program some intentionally terrible files - GrabCAD print has been able to handle everything we've thrown at it.


Streamlined Part Processing: No longer are users required to manually process print projects part-by-part; users may "batch process" files, importing multiple components and/or assemblies at a time. From there, the parts can be managed individually, or have the same configuration applied accross all of the parts. . If the project requires multiple printers, the ability to 'hide' certain components allows users to process parts tray by tray.


Integrated Printer Scheduling: GrabCAD Print allows users to process parts and schedule Fortus machines and other supported printers concurrently: rather than jumping back and forth between Catalyst, Insight, and Control Centre, manage all of our printers from within GrabCAD print. Schedule view displays a calendar all company machines allowing for a comprehensive view of weekly printing schedules and accounting for office hours.


Remote Monitoring: GrabCAD Print allows users to monitor printers and print jobs from anywhere, whether on desktop or through their mobile app. Users receive real-time printer status updates, and owners of F-Series printers may also view their printer's on board camera - this is very handy for teams that travel a lot, or with multple locations using a single print center.


Insight Integration: For those parts that require a closer look, users can launch Insight directly from GrabCAD print. Once the part has been configured to your liking, the job can be saved, and the CMB imported into GrabCAD printer. Users can now combine the extensive capabilities of Insight with the ease-of-use afforded by GrabCAD print.

In the coming weeks, we'll be outlining potential workflows for using Insight, GrabCAD Print, and Control Centre together.

Training & Support: There are several resources available to help train users to get the most out of GrabCAD print - namely, users can get a GrabCAD Print Certification after completing a series of tutorials and mini-quizes. Comprehensive FAQs and How-To's located on the GrabCAD website are extremely thorough, and our Applications Team works closely with GrabCAD's Support Group to ensure all of your requirements are met.


Stay Tuned!

In the coming weeks we will be posting installation guides and some sample workflows to help you get started with GrabCAD Print. Be sure to stay tuned for the second post of this series, where we'll walk you through getting your company set up with GrabCAD Print and connecting your Stratasys FDM printer(s) GrabCAD print! As always, please feel free to reach out to our team of Applications Specialists for more information, or with any questions - our team of experts is waiting to help you get the most out of your Stratasys 3D Printer.