Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

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Overview: Fused Deposition Modeling is a low-cost prototyping process that allows for mechanically strong parts to be created.

Materials Used & Part Characteristics: FDM is noted for it wide range of material options. Some of the major materials include ABS, PLA, Nylon (PA6 / PA 66), PETG and TPU materials are melted and extruded in round layers to build up parts. Because the extrusion is round, sharp corners and other fine features are limited.

Where used: Often used in creating fixtures due to low cost and strong mechanical strength. Also used in early stage prototypes or concept models.

The FDM Process

Watch the FDM Process

Manufacturing Process:
Fused Deposition Modeling is:
• Fused Deposition Modeling begins with a thermoplastic filament that is wound on a spool.
• This filament is fed through an extruder that melts the material and selectively deposits layers of material in X and Y locations.
• As material is extruded the bed is lowered to allow for layers to be built in the Z dimension.
• As the melt from the extrusion is layered under pressure and heat it bonds to the previous layer.
• Post processing to improve surface finish and cosmetic appearance is available.

Finishing: Bead blasting or sanding can be used to improve surface finishes. Parts can be painted.

Tolerances: Approximately .20” or .5%. Tolerances for all
processes are approximates as size, geometry, wall thickness, and material selection will impact manufacturing tolerances.