Welcome to the second installment of the Creatz3D Fun Fact Series!
So in today’s fun fact, we will be revealing what makes FDM different from FFF – in terms of printing.
A World of Difference
While they technically work similarly by extruding filament, the results between FDM and FFF 3D printers aren’t the same. FDM 3D printers typically come with a heated chamber when the temperature can be controlled (around 90˚C) for compatibility with high-performance engineering-grade materials to prevent warping and ensure accuracy.
This is unlike FFF printers where they come without a heated chamber, and instead only have a heated build plate which is prone to temperature fluctuations in an open environment, causing unwanted residual stresses to the part.
The dual extrusion mechanism found in FDM 3D printers enables water-soluble material that acts as a support mechanism during prints. This means more complex and demanding parts can be printed with smooth surfaces. Because of their porous nature and uneven extrusion, it is difficult to achieve smooth finishes and high resolution with FFF printers.
Thus, FDM is usually used in industrial-grade 3D printers to print industrial applications that require high tolerances and mechanical properties, while FFF printers are mainly used by hobbyists for form and validation prototyping.
There is still a misconception because when consumers opt for desktop 3D printing, they find that the results do not align with expectations and sets a negative perception that 3D printing isn’t quite there yet.
But in fact, they are not exposed to the full potential of industrial-grade 3D printers which has advanced significantly to a stage where it is used for the production of end-use parts and other functional applications.
In terms of capabilities, industrial-grade 3D printers from Stratasys bring a far wider range of features that allow users to create what they want accurately and generally easier to use, compared to cheaper hobbyist machines.
At the end of the day, it’s all about setting the expectations with the right information and making the right choice to fit your specific requirements. In the next fun fact, we will reveal the difference in results – through application examples.