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Embarrassing the Competition – The Fusion3 F400-S is the Industrial Printer to Beat
Last update on 2021-04-26 at 21:04
The industrial 3D Printer market is ripe for a change. Despite the cost and quality of 3D printers improving dramatically for home users, for commercial users little has changed in a decade.
Industrial and business users still pay over the odds for 3D printers that lock them into buying expensive proprietary filament with little in the way of benefits such as service or warranty.
The Fusion3 F400-S aims to change that. It brings all the improvements that have been developed in consumer 3D printing into a machine that has been designed and built to cope in an industrial environment.
Fusion designed the F400-S to be a reliable tool. It will churn out prints all day, month after month, with little maintenance or upkeep.
- 1.4 cu ft build volume (14″ x 14″ x 12.6″)
- Automated bed leveling with IR sensor
- 2 Year Warranty
- Lifetime Support
- Print Speed up to 250mm/s
- Simplify3D Slicer Software included
- E3Dv6 print head, max temp 300°C
- Glass print bed, max temp 140°C
Fusion3 designed the F400-S to be easy to use and to need as little manual input as possible.
You don’t have to do any bed-leveling, as this is an entirely automated process. IR sensors measure the bed height and adjust the Z-axis in real time.
The Hotend is an E3Dv6. This is one of the best hotends available and enables the F400 to print any filament that melts at less than 300°C.
That means it can happily print PLA, ABS, PET, PETG, PC (Polycarbonate), Nylon, TPU (flexible), Polyester, PMMA (Acrylic), and PVA!
The nozzle is made of hard wearing hardened steel which means it can also cope with abrasive filaments like metal, ceramic and carbon fiber.
You can see all the essential information about your print on the full-color touchscreen. At 4.7″ it’s smartphone size and very easy to see and use.
As well as the touchscreen, you can remotely manage all aspects of the printer. Using ethernet (or Wi-fi if you have a Wi-Fi bridge) you can start, stop, and pause your print as well as upload files and monitor print progress. This is particularly useful if you plan to keep your 3D printer in a separate manufacturing facility or office.
The F400-S comes with an excellent set of full-color instructions. Many detailed images are used to make it easy to understand. Even the unboxing process has directions to make it as easy as possible.
Once you’ve positioned your F400-S in a suitable location, the next step to your first print is to load the filament. This is a simple process of feeding it into the extruder and turning the hand feed wheel. Again, very clear instructions are included that show every little step to do this.
A couple of test models are included, and you should print these first to ensure there are no issues with your printer. Following the instructions is an excellent way to learn how to use the printer.
Printing amounts to spreading a thin layer of the included glue stick on the glass bed and then pressing print. But the instructions are very detailed and walk you through all the steps that the printer is doing automatically, like bed heating and leveling.
A handy removal tool is included for releasing PLA and nylon objects. If everything is good with your test print, then you’re ready to get going.
Using the F400-S
All the parts and controls that you need to use on a regular basis are easy to get to and easy to use.
On the cold end of the extruder, the only parts you need to touch to load filament are colored orange. Little details like this stand out in comparison to the F400’s competition and make for quick and easy printing.
Likewise, on the touchscreen, a ‘Control’ tab contains all the functions you need to use to get your printer going, like basic temperature controls and filament loading, so you don’t need to hunt around a complicated menu system to find out how to pre-heat your nozzle.
The F400 is a very quiet 3D printer. The hinged cover does an excellent job at containing the noise, Fusion rate it at 36dB with the lid down which makes it quieter than most office laser printers.
Fusion have included Simplify3D software with the F400-S. This usually retails for around $149 so is a welcome bonus.
Simplify3D is one of the best slicers around and gives you any amount of control over your models as you like, from fully automatic slicing to a plethora of manual settings.
One of the significant benefits of Simplify3D is its ability to model built supports accurately and allow you to preview them to ensure they’re in their optimum position.
Fusion3 include a well-written quick guide to Simplify3D in their instruction manual, plus there are plenty of resources available online to help you get the most from this powerful software.
The F400-S has an E3Dv6 hotend that allows you to print using any filament that melts below 300°C.
It also features a steel nozzle that won’t wear if you use abrasive, industrial filaments.
All this means you are free to print using virtually any filament material currently available.
PLA, ABS, PET, PETG, PC (Polycarbonate), Nylon, TPU (flexible), Polyester, PMMA (Acrylic), and PVA are all usable. As are exotic blended filaments such as carbon fiber, steel, and copper.
Fusion3 maintain and regularly update a list of filament suppliers that they approve. Although you are free to use whichever filament you choose, you can run into problems using cheap, poor quality filament. If you stick to using only approved filament you are unlikely to run into problems with your printer.
Approved filaments come with a Simplify3D material profile that gives you all the correct settings to get the best result from that filament without you having to do the R&D yourself.
Their current approved list contains all the popular brands you are likely to know like Hatchbox, ColorFabb, and ProtoPasta.
The F400-S has a large filament holder that can accommodate spools up to 4 kg in size (dia 12″ x width 5.5″.)
Loading and unloading filament is almost a fully automated process, with a button for each that heats up the head and reverses or pulls filament into the head.
The F400-S uses a proprietary version of the Core XY drive system. Particular attention is paid to ensuring this is as accurate and precise as the industrial 3D printers it is competing with.
Both XY and Z precision are as good as any FFF printer on the market, with the additional benefit of being quite a fast printer too, with excellent quality achievable at 100mm/s speeds.
XY resolution is 21 microns, Z resolution is 50-300 microns. Minimum layer height is 0.02mm (20 microns) giving a minimum feature size of 0.5mm².
Because of the quality of the motion system, part quality is exceptionally good with minimal layer definition.
The F400-S is one of the most reliable 3D printers on the market. Fusion3 is confident in its robustness and offer a 2-year warranty with it. This is currently the longest warranty on any 3D printer.
In addition to the warranty, you are given free lifetime phone and email support to help you with any issues you may have. Current users of Fusion3’s printers have reported that they have a very helpful and proactive customer support who go out of their way to make sure you get the best from their products.
Employees of the company often post on popular 3D printing forums to offer help and advice when it’s asked, which I think is a sign of a great company.
Once your two-year warranty ends, as well as still receiving the lifetime support, you will be able to buy any replacement parts you need at cost.
However, you’re unlikely to need any of these warranty benefits, as the F400 is designed with reliability in mind.
The chassis provides a very rigid foundation for the printing mechanism. And all the components of the drive system and extruder are of the highest quality.
The enclosure provides a stable environment that prevents outside temperature and humidity fluctuations from affecting your prints.
Combining these features with the auto bed leveling, which removes the chance of poor calibration, and you have a 3D printer that won’t let you down.
The F400-S is mainly used in commercial, business and educational environments and current users report enthusiastically about the ‘set it and forget it’ nature of the printer.
The Fusion3 F400-S is a 3D printer designed for getting things done with as little hassle as possible.
The F400-S set out to compete with industrial 3D printers, but it ends up making a mockery of them. It beats almost all its competitors regarding cost, quality, and ease of use. And it doesn’t tie you to specific materials types or brands.
As soon as you unbox the F400-S, it screams quality. The manual and included service prove that Fusion3 is a quality company that put their customers first.
If you’re a small business, school or startup, then you’ll struggle to do better than buying an F400-S.