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FDM 3D Printer Technology

Experience industrial superiority with Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), the only additive manufacturing technology that works with production-grade thermoplastics in the FDM 3D printer under a patented self-calibrated heated chamber.

Developed in the late 1980s by Stratasys co-founder, Scott Crump, FDM is one of the oldest 3D printing technologies around. As the term FDM was created and copyrighted by Stratasys, the term Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) was coined by open source project RepRap and is now used legally unconstrained by other printer makers. Essentially, both FDM and FFF processes work similarly by melting plastic and extruding it in a pattern, layer-by-layer on a variable height build platform.

The self-calibrated heat chamber ensures consistent bonding of layers, as every layer is heated at a specific temperature, offering manufacturers high accuracy and limited part warpage. Multiple parts can also be put together to produce extremely large parts and overcome the maximum build size limitation.

FDM technology uses the same thermoplastic materials found in traditional manufacturing processes but works wonders when trying to achieve complex designs that other 3D printers are incapable of replicating with high-quality and smooth finishes.

With Creatz3D, there is always an FDM thermoplastic that suits your requirements.

THE TECHNOLOGY

FDM technology works by first heating the thermoplastic in the 3D printer to a semi-liquid state. The ultra-fine threads in the semi-liquid state are then deposited along the extrusion path layer by layer. A removable material is deposited by the printer if support is required. The support can be removed during post-processing either by detergent or water.

THE RESULT

FDM technology allows users to use 3D printers to build products of unrivalled resistance and strength in chemical, mechanical, and thermal properties, which are unlikely to be distorted in ambient conditions with time. The technology is also ideal for the creation of components that require complicated geometries and performance durability. Design ideas are thus freed from the constraints of traditional manufacturing methods, which have often compromised extreme precision.

TOOLING APPLICATIONS

Create jigs and fixtures faster, with a lower production cost.
Customized tools can all be 3D printed, on-demand with in-house printers.
And they come more cost-effectively than machined tools.

FDM 3D PRINTERS FOR VARIOUS SECTORS

FDM 3D printing technology is increasingly being used in a variety of industries due to its versatility, affordability and ease of use.

Medical Industry

One of the most promising applications of FDM 3D printing technology is in the medical sector. An example of the use of FDM 3D printing is the development of customized prosthetic devices. This technology can be used to create prosthetics that are specifically tailored to the individual patient, which can improve both function and comfort. FDM 3D printers are also being used to produce small batches of specialized medical equipment and fabricate models for pre-surgical planning.

Aerospace Industry

FDM 3D printing technology is gradually being adopted in the aerospace sector as it offers a number of advantages over traditional manufacturing methods. FDM 3D printed parts are typically lighter than their conventionally manufactured counterparts, which can lead to significant weight savings in aircraft components. This technology has also been used to produce spare parts for aircraft on demand, which can reduce downtime and save on inventory costs.

Automotive Industry

Warpage and breakage are common issues in the automotive sector, especially when components are made using traditional manufacturing methods. However, FDM 3D printing can help to minimize these problems. The technology creates parts layer by layer, which helps to reduce stress on the material and prevents warping. Using FDM 3D printers, automotive designers and engineers can quickly produce prototypes for testing, without the need for expensive tooling or long lead times. 

As the technology continues to evolve, it is likely that even more innovative and ground-breaking applications will be found for FDM 3D printing.

FDM 3D PRINTERS VS OTHER TECHNOLOGIES

As there are many different types of 3D printers – each with its own unique capabilities –, it can be tricky to decide on the appropriate technology for the given application. Your decision will depend on a number of factors, including the type of material required and the desired performance output quality, So how does FDM 3D printing compare to other additive manufacturing processes?

FDM vs SLA

If you need to produce a prototype with smooth surfaces and fine details, Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing is generally the best technology for the job. SLA 3D printing works by curing photosensitive resin with a laser beam. As the build material is liquid, it can support itself during construction, allowing for very complex geometries that would otherwise collapse under their own weight. This self-supporting nature also allows for extremely thin features, making it ideal for creating intricate parts and prototypes. You can also discover laser stereolithography to 3D print functional ceramic parts. 

However, if you want to produce a large object with relatively few intricate details, you may prefer FDM 3D printers. The most significant benefit of FDM 3D printing is its ability to produce highly complex shapes with little to no assembly required. This is because FDM 3D printers build parts layer by layer, allowing them to create any shape that can fit within their build envelope. In addition, FDM 3D printers are generally less expensive than other types of 3D printers. As a result, FDM 3D printers are an ideal solution for applications where speed and cost are major concerns.

FDM vs Polyjet

PolyJet 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process that jet layers of UV curable liquid photopolymer materials to produce smooth and accurate prototypes and tooling applications. One advantage of this method is that it allows for a high degree of control over the thickness of each layer. As a result, PolyJet-printed parts can have extremely thin walls, as little as 0.014mm thick. Polyjet printers also have the ability to print in multiple colours and materials simultaneously – even creating gradients for a smooth transition between colours. The smooth surfaces and fine features produced by PolyJet 3D printing make it an ideal technology for applications that require tight tolerances or a high degree of aesthetic detail.

On the other hand, when it comes to building durable components that need to withstand extreme conditions, FDM 3D printers are an excellent choice. The resulting products are incredibly strong, with excellent chemical, mechanical, and thermal properties.

 

HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT FDM 3D PRINTER

When shopping for an FDM 3D printer, there are a few factors to keep in mind in order to find the right machine for your needs.

Build Volume

The build volume of an FDM 3D printer refers to the maximum size of an object that can be printed by the machine. A machine with a large build volume would be well-suited for prototyping large objects, while a machine with a smaller build volume would be more appropriate for printing delicate or intricate parts.

Filament

It is also important to consider the type of filament that is compatible with the printer. The filament is the material used in FDM 3D printers. It comes in a spool and is fed into the printer. The filament is then melted and extruded through a nozzle to create the desired shape. Each material has its own unique properties that can affect the strength and flexibility of the finished product.

Ease of Use

When looking for the right FDM 3D printer for your organization, ease of use should be one of your top considerations. Look for a printer that comes with detailed instructions for effective implementation. And with Creatz3D, rest assured that our certified service engineers will perform regular inspections to ensure that your FDM 3D printer is always operating at optimal levels.

FDM Thermoplastic Materials

ABS-CF10, ABS-ESD7, ABSi, ABS-M30, ABSplus, ABS-M30i, Antero 800NA, Antero 840CN03, ASA, Diran 410MF07, Nylon 6, Nylon 12, Nylon 12CF, PC, PC-ABS, PC-ISO, PLA, PPSF, ST-130, TPU 92A, ULTEM 1010, ULTEM 9085, and more.

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Industrial FDM 3D Printer

Industrial FDM 3D printers from Stratasys cater to all of your design and engineering needs for any environment.

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MakerBot Materials

MakerBot ABS, MakerBot ASA, MakerBot NYLON, MakerBot PETG, MakerBot TOUGH, MakerBot PLA, MakerBot PVA, and more.

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Performance FDM 3D Printer

The METHOD platform from MakerBot was developed to bring industrial technologies into an accessible platform, breaking the price-performance barrier and redefining rapid prototyping.

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Get in Touch

Interested in leveraging the capabilities of our industry-leading FDM 3D printers? Don’t hesitate to contact us or check out our FAQ page for more information.

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