Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

What is FDM Technology?

FDM Technology works with specialized 3D printers and production-grade thermoplastics to build strong, durable and dimensionally stable parts with the best accuracy and repeatability of any 3D printing technology.

Stratasys founder Scott Crump invented FDM Technology more than 20 years ago, and Stratasys has continued to lead the 3D printing revolution ever since.

How accurate are 3D FDM Printers?

Remember that a 3D printer works by depositing raw material layer by layer along the X, Y and Z axis. The accuracy of the 3D printer therefore depends upon the minimum distance the nozzle can travel vertically (the Z axis). Minimum the distance it can move, more the points along the sinusoid that it can capture, and better the accuracy.For Stratasys 3D printers, which are the pioneers of the FDM printers, the current best possible dimensional accuracy is about 0.127 mm. Of course, the choice of raw material too plays an important part in achieving dimensional stability. It should also be remembered that the accuracy comes at the cost of printing time required.

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. 

Benefits of FDM 3D Printing

  • Strong plastic material
  • Average surface finish
  • 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