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A Complete Look at FDM Printable Plastics And 3D Printing Filament

by Nice Rapid | Apr 17,2021 | 3D Printing

When it comes to the 3D printing sector, we have witnessed a wave in development, especially during the COVID-19 period. This is either in the usage of innovative printing material or 3D printing technology.

The entire procedure of creating 3D prints from different materials is normally known as additive manufacturing (it’s called so as layer by layer have to be added for a product to be formed). Over the past couple of years, 3D printing has truly evolved featuring new manufacturing techniques.

Today both designers and engineers strive to incorporate the latest technology into their manufacturing procedures before the products are finally launched onto the market. Some of the common 3D printing techniques being used include:

  • FDM Fused Deposition Modeling
  • SLA Stereolithography
  • 3DP – Tridimensional Inkjet Printing
  • PJP Polyjet printing
  • LOM Laminated Object Manufacturing
  • DLP Digital Light Processing
  • SLS Selective Laser Sintering

While some of the technologies above are still under review and development, each technique comes with its own unique sets of benefits. In the current 3D printing world, FDM 3D printing, or as popularly known as Fused Deposit Modelling is known for its affordability as well as ease of use.

What is FDM?

FDM is an accessible and simple 3D printing that's used in prototype or product development plus other manufacturing processes. Since its user-friendly and ecological technology, it's widely used in the food and transport industry.

How does the process work?

In the making of a 3D model, specialized software is mostly used which slices through the transversal layers or sections. The printing tech works by inserting the plastic filament through an extruder and it's warmed till it finally melts.

During this stage the filament that has been melted is homogeneously applied through extrusion, layer by layer, with a high degree of precision and accuracy, to manufacture the 3D print based on its original pattern and design.

Type of plastic materials that can be used in FDM 3D printing

When it comes to FDM 3D printing, plastic is one of the most commonly used materials. But not just any kind of plastic, but thermoplastics. There is a wide range of plastic materials that are used to make filaments for 3D printing.

PS (Polystyrene): This thermoplastic material is normally melted at 100 Celsius degrees. When stored at room temperature it's usually in a glassy state. PS is widely used in the making of 3D molds with finer details. Butit degrades very slowly raising some pertinent environmental debates and concerns.

BioFila Linen; It’s a new entrant when it comes to creating 3D printing filament. The material doesn’t contain any linen fibers, but Lignin, as it's popularly known is an organic material. The features of BioFila are truly astounding. The 3D prints feature a texture similar to linen, yet it's a much stronger and more porous-looking-like structure.

PA (Polyamide): This thermoplastic is normally used for the production of cheaper 3D printing filaments. PA is much less and brittle compared to PLA and ABS, thus it’s much stronger. Additionally, it also has self-lubricating properties which are perfect for gear printing.

FDM 3D printing is a tech that will be constantly evolving, the best is yet to come. The opportunities and benefits that come with it are limitless.

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