Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

FDM is gaining ground in the printing world. It is arguably the most “printer-like” of all methods; it consists of a moving bed (Z-axis) and a print head (X-axis and Y-axis). The print head has a heating element in it; thermoplastic is forced into the print head, melts, and is squeezed out, not unlike toothpaste. The bed is usually cooled so that the plastic hardens soon after being placed down. Again, this is a layer by layer process; some systems can print layers as small as 0.178 mm.

From custompart.net:

Since it is squeezing out spools of plastic filament, there are different types of plastic available to print with. ABS is the most popular; if you are not familiar, ABS plastic is what LEGOs are made of. It can also print PPSF and PC plastics.

Stratasys, the developer and leading manufacturer of FDM technology, offers FDM systems that not only print parts as large as 36x24x36, but print moving parts. The machine can differentiate between separate objects within a CAD file, allowing you to print, for example, a system of gears that works right out of the machine. You can print objects within other objects, etc.

Support structures are necessary, but the print head contains a second element for extruding support material. Stratasys’ FORTUS systems (expensive) contain a bed of water soluble liquid that you place the models in after they print; the liquid disintegrates all support material from the model.

Advantages?
• ABS plastic means durable and functional models.
• Several different material options.
• Prints moving parts.
• Separate support material with removal system.

Disadvantages?
• Slow print time compared to some other methods.
• Rougher surface finish than SLA.

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2 Responses to “Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)”

  1. Laserinformationen - Der Blog » Blog Archive » Rapid Prototyping Technologien Says:

    […] (bis jetzt) die folgenden Technologien:SLA – StereolithographySLS – Selective Laser SinteringFDM – Fused Deposition ModelingLOM – Laminated Object Manufacturing3DP – 3-Dimensional PrintingInkjet and MultiJet PrintingSGC […]

  2. Extruder Controller « Kyle Stetz /// Rapid Prototyping Study Says:

    […] The plastic extruder does two things: it heats, and it pushes using a motor. First it heats; then, when the temperature is right, you feed plastic filament (3mm thick plastic rod) into it and a motor turns, forcing the filament down into the heater. This process is covered in the post on FDM. […]

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