Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D Printer. It uses production grade thermal plastic
materials to print its 3D objects. It’s popular for producing
functional prototypes, concept models, and manufacturing aids. It’s a
technology that can create accurate details and boasts an exceptional strength
to weight ratio.
Before the FDM printing process begins, the user has to slice the 3D CAD data (the 3D model) into multiple layers using special software. The sliced CAD data goes to the printer which then builds the object layer at a time on the build platform. It does this simply by heating and then extruding the thermoplastic filament through the nozzle and onto the base. The printer can also extrude various support materials as well as the thermoplastic. For example, as a way to support upper layers, the printer can add special support material underneath, which then dissolves after the printing process. As with all 3D printers, the time it takes to print all depends on the objects size and its complexity.
Like many other 3D technologies, the finished object needs cleaning. Raw FDM parts can show fairly visible layer-lines on some objects. These will obviously need hand sanding and finishing after printing. This is the only way to get a smooth, end product with an even surface. FDM finished objects are both functional and durable. This makes it a popular process for use in a wide range of industries, including for mechanical engineering and parts manufacturers. BMW uses FDM 3D printing, as does the well-known food company Nestle, to name just a couple.