Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), commonly known as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF printing), is an additive manufacturing technique that belongs to the material extrusion category. An item is constructed in FDM technology layer by layer, selectively depositing melted material along a predefined direction. The materials used in FDM 3d printing are thermoplastic polymers that come in the form of filaments.
In simple terms, a conventional FDM 3D printer squeezes plastic filament through a hot end, melts it, and then deposits it in layers on the print bed. These layers are fused as they pile up throughout the print, ultimately forming the completed item.
Many businesses use FDM 3D printing technology because it allows for the creation of complex and intricate objects. As a result, engineers employ it to test parts for fit and form. It’s a technology that’s now helping to speed up the production of small parts and specialized tools that used to take a long time to make.
What is fused deposition and how does it work?
Like other types of 3D printing, FDM starts with a 3D Model or 3D Design file that is submitted to the printer software. ABS, Nylon, PLA, Polycarbonate, and PEEK are just a few of the employed polymers. These take the form of plastic threads fed via a nozzle from a coil. The filaments are melted and fed onto the build platform or table, including the base and the nozzle, controlled by a computer. The computer operates by converting the object’s size and dimensions into coordinates that the nozzle and base can follow.
The plastic cools and solidifies as the nozzle advances over the base, producing a solid link with the last layer. The printhead is raised at this moment in order to place the next layer of plastic.
Additive 3d printers are efficient and quick as usual, but the time it takes to make an item is dependent on its size. Smaller items with a cubic volume of a few cubic inches may be made rapidly, while bigger, more complicated ones require longer.
FDM or FFF provides a number of benefits over other 3D printing technologies.
Scalability is one of the most attractive features of FDM 3D printing: it can be readily scaled to any size. This is because the movement of each gantry only limits the size of a build area; by making the gantry rails longer, the build area may be expanded.
Another benefit is the material’s flexibility. With very minimal upgrades and changes, any FDM printer can print a broad range of thermoplastic materials and exotic filaments, which cannot be stated of other types where material must be a resin or fine powder.
Another advantage is that the cost per part FDM or FFF 3D Printers is controllable since 3rd party filaments are less expensive and various usable materials are readily accessible on the market.