Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is an additive manufacturing technology that builds parts layer by layer by extruding thermoplastic material through a heated nozzle. The process involves depositing melted material onto a build platform in a precise pattern, which then cools and solidifies to form a cohesive object. 

Why use FDM?

FDM is widely used for creating durable prototypes, functional components, and tooling, utilizing a variety of thermoplastics such as ABS, PLA, and high-performance materials like Ultem. Known for its cost-effectiveness, robustness, and versatility, FDM is a popular choice across multiple industries for both prototyping and end-use applications.

Benefits of FDM

Benefits

Best suited for

Materials for SLS

Using Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) we can produce great form factor prototypes, checking jigs and fixtures.

The nature of FDM leads to very cost-effective parts and allows us to control the densities of the infill of parts. Geometry dependent, parts can be built 100% solid, semi-solid or completely hollow shells.

Cost-Effective Production

Robust and Functional Parts

Versatility in Material Choices

Applications

Applications in high-performance industries:

Motorsport

Marine Racing

Advantages

Engineering advantages:

Cost-Effectiveness

FDM uses thermoplastic filaments, which are generally more affordable than other 3D printing materials, making it cost-effective for both prototyping and production.

No Need for Expensive Tooling

The process eliminates the need for costly molds and tooling, reducing overall production expenses and making small-batch production economically viable.

The FDM process overview

Preparation

A 3D model is created using CAD software and then converted into a digital format that the FDM printer can read, commonly a STL file.

The digital model is sliced into thin layers using slicing software, generating a detailed toolpath and instructions for the printer.

Material Loading

Thermoplastic filament material, such as ABS, PLA, or high-performance polymers like Ultem, is loaded into the printer. The filament is typically supplied in spools.

Printing

The FDM printer heats the thermoplastic filament to its melting point and extrudes it through a heated nozzle.

The melted material is precisely deposited onto the build platform layer by layer, following the toolpath generated during the slicing process.

Each layer cools and solidifies as the printer head moves to deposit the next layer, gradually building up the part. Support structures may be printed simultaneously if required for overhangs or complex geometries.

Post-processing

Once the print is complete, the part is removed from the build platform. Any support structures are carefully detached.

Additional post-processing, such as sanding, drilling, or painting, may be performed to achieve the desired surface finish and functionality.

CASE STUDIES

Technology-specific case studies

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