What is FDM 3D Printing?


Brackets, gears and crucible molds FDM 3D Printed out of PLA and ABS

Fused Deposition Modeling is the most accessible 3D printing technology due to its simplicity, affordability, and multitude of manufacturers. However, like all 3D printing methods, it isn’t a magic wand for manufacturing and does come with design restrictions and material limitations. 

In today’s article, we’ll explore how FDM 3D printing works, its pros and cons, and how it can assist you in getting started with 3D printing.

How does FDM 3D Printing work?

Visualization of the FDM 3D printing process

Fused Deposition Modeling operates by melting a thermoplastic filament, like PLA or ABS or other engineering grade materials, and extruding it layer by layer through a heated nozzle onto a build platform. The printer follows a digital design, depositing material to create the object’s shape. As each layer is laid down, it solidifies almost immediately, fusing with the previous layer. This process continues, gradually building the object from the bottom up until completion, resulting in a three-dimensional structure.

The Pro’s and Con’s 

FDM 3D printing presents several advantages, including its cost-effectiveness, wide material versatility, user-friendly nature, generous build volume, and widespread accessibility, catering to diverse user needs from beginners to professionals. However, FDM’s limitations include visible layer lines impacting surface finish, the need for support structures that can affect the final appearance, and specific material constraints, making it less ideal for specialized applications requiring exceptional properties like high-temperature resistance or specific mechanical strengths, often better addressed by alternative 3D printing technologies.

How can we help you get started with 3D printing?

Not sure yet if FDM 3D Printing is the right technology for your needs? Are you unsure if FDM 3D Printing can cover your needs or do you just want to get a deeper understanding? Call or write us here.

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