Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

FDM involves the process of extruding a plastic through a nozzle layer by layer. The extruder head traces around the parts cross section depositing a thin bead of melted plastic. The build and support material are a thin filament that is pulled up to a print head that heats the material to its melting point and then extrudes it through a thin nozzle. As the material is deposited, it cools and solidifies and bonds to the other layers. The process involves laying the build and support material separately layer by layer. Once complete the part is removed and the support material is either manually removed using tools such as plyers or chemically dissolved in a separate wash station. There are a range of materials including ABS, polyamide, polycarbonate, polyethylene, polypropylene, and investment casting wax.

Benefits of FDM 3D Printing

  • Strong plastic material
  • Average surface finish
  • Ability to build large parts – up to 36 x 24 x 36 inches
  • Number colors available for many materials
  • Many materials available including ABS, polyamide, polycarbonate, polyethylene & polypropylene

Applications for FDM 3D printing

  • Fit and form
  • Functional end use parts
  • High temperature
  • Fixtures
  • Durability testing