Fused Deposition Modeling

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), is an additive manufacturing process that belongs to the material extrusion family.

FDM is the most widely used 3D Printing technology: it represents the largest installed base of 3D printers globally and is often the first technology people are exposed to. In this article, the basic principles and the key aspects of the technology are presented.

 

Application

      • Early Stage Functional Prototypes
      • Low-cost prototyping and design verification
      • Good Strength and Durable Parts
      • Very fast turn around times
      • Colour Options

 

Cross section of nut showing male connectors and highly detailed thread in grey material

Material - Polylactic acid (PLA)

High stiffness, good detail, affordable. PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic for low-cost, non-functional prototyping. Greater detail than ABS, but more brittle. Unsuitable for high temperatures.

 

Material - Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)

Rubber-like material, suitable for tubes, grips, seals and gaskets. TPU is a thermoplastic elastomer with low Shore Hardness and a rubber-like feel that can be easily flexed and compressed.

 

3D printed action camera holders in black material
Stack of 3D printed adjustable head gears for face shields in multiple colours

Material - Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETG)

Good for mechanical parts with high impact resistance and flexibility. Sterilizable. PETG is a thermoplastic with improved properties over PLA, with high impact resistance and excellent chemical and moisture resistance.

 

Characteristics

Price

 

Minimal

 

Lead Time

 

Avg 1 – 2 Days

Wall Thickness

 

0.8mm

Tolerances

± 0.5% (min: ± 0.5 mm)

 

Layer height

100-300um

Max part size

 

250x210x210mm

 

Multiple FDM 3D printed text blocks in blue and yellow materials