Since the 1980s, additive manufacturing—also known as 3D printing—has been a popular means of making prototypes, and it’s swiftly becoming the fastest and most economical way to make personalized consumer goods. But how exactly does this cutting-edge technology work? Three-dimensional printing can be completed in a variety of ways, but the most common is fused deposition modeling (FDM). To make a three-dimensional item, FDM printers heat a thermoplastic filament to its melting point and then extrude layer by layer. Here’s what a fused deposition modeling strategy in 3D printing is.
Fused deposition modeling is an additive manufacturing technique in which layers of materials are fused together in a pattern to form an object. Typically, the material is melted slightly past its glass transition temperature and then extruded in a pattern adjacent to or on top of previous extrusions, layer by layer, to create an item.
In layman’s 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 fuse together as they pile up during the print, eventually forming the finished item.
FDM processes can be utilized with a variety of materials, including thermoplastics, chocolate, pastes, and even metal- or wood-infused thermoplastic.
Advantages of FDM Printing
Scalability is one of the most appealing features of FDM 3D printing: it can be easily scaled to any size. This is because the size of a build area is only limited by the movement of each gantry; longer gantry rails can expand the build area. Of course, there are a few minor drawbacks, and the expense eventually outweighs the benefits, but no other printer design can be scaled as simply and with as few problems as FDM.
The cost-to-size ratio is one of the more obvious advantages of having readily scalable architecture. Due to cheap part costs and simple designs, FDM printers are always getting bigger and less expensive. Other types of printers are much more expensive per unit area of build volume simply because scaling them up is difficult and because the core components are still relatively pricey.
Cons of FDM Printing
Part quality or detail is one of the most frequently mentioned drawbacks of FDM 3D printing. High-detail prints are difficult to make, and they generally require a lot of post-processing to achieve a professional, finished look since the material must be extruded in layers and has a certain thickness determined by the nozzle. Another disadvantage of FDM printing layers is that they create a weak point in the print where each layer is linked, making prints less durable and unsuitable for some purposes.
We hope this article has been helpful in explaining what fused deposition modeling is in 3D printing. Even with how good the FDM process is, sometimes the project just requires different characteristics than what FDM can provide.