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What You Should Know About FDM 3D Printing?

by Nice Rapid | Feb 17,2021 | FDM 3D Printing

Have you heard of FDM 3D printing?

It may sound new but actually it is not. It is one of the fast-emerging manufacturing methods that many companies used to create a part. Since it has 3D printing associated with it, you can tell that it is an additive process. It works with a specialized 3D printer and uses production-grade thermoplastics to manufacture durable, stable, and strong parts with the same repeatability and accuracy as any 3D printed product.

Here are some of the essential details that you should know about FDM 3D printing and why you should choose it as a manufacturing technique to produce a part.

What is FDM 3D Printing?

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is also called Fused Filament Fabrication or FFF. It is an additive manufacturing practice that is included in the material extrusion group. In FDM 3D Printing, the object is made by depositing the molten material layer-by-layer in a predetermined part. Here, thermoplastic polymers are used and are in filament form.

Many people don’t know this but FDM is the most widely used form of 3D printing. The majority of the 3D printers installed all over the world are for this process and this is the first 3D printing technology that people have been exposed to.

How Does it Work?

The FDM 3D printing process is simple and straightforward. A spool of thermoplastic filament is loaded into the machine. When the nozzle has reached the desired temperature, the material will be loaded into the extrusion head and the nozzle where the material will melt.

The nozzle of the 3D printer is attached to a 3-axis system, which will allow it to move in three directions. The melted material is extruded in lean strands and is deposited layer by layer in the specified locations until it cools and solidifies. In other machines, the cooling process is accelerated with the use of cooling fans that are attached to the extrusion head. To complete the part, the nozzle has to make multiple passes until it is finished.

The Pros and Cons of Using FDM 3D Printing

This manufacturing process has its benefits and drawbacks that could affect the decision-making process when choosing it.

Pros

  • It is a cost-effective way to produces parts and prototypes made from thermoplastics
  • It has a short lead time because the technology is highly accessible
  • There are plenty of materials you can choose for prototyping and non-commercial functions

Cons

  • It has the lowest dimensional resolution and accuracy compared to other 3D printing technologies
  • Not suitable for producing parts with intricate details
  • It has no smooth finish with visible layer lines
  • It needs post-finishing processes
  • The FDM parts are anisotropic

FDM is a widely accepted and the simplest type of 3D printing. It is also cheap and fairly efficient. You can also use many types of materials with this technique ranging from the most common thermoplastics to the most exotic like wood-infused thermoplastics. No wonder it dominates the 3D printing market and has displaced the more expensive methods.

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