FDM - Fused Deposition Modelling
Additive manufacturing method in which a detail is created layer by layer by melting a plastic wire and applying it through a heated nozzle.
The product is formed on a mobile building platform. A plastic wire is fed through rollers pushing the thread through a heated nozzle where the wire is heated and then ejected from the nozzle at constant speed to build a cross section of the CAD model.After each layer, the building platform is lowered and the next layer is added.If necessary, a supporting structure is also printed to allow overhangs.
Post-processing in the form of removal of these support structures is required.Grinding, waxing or heating of the surfaces may be required if higher surface finish is desired.
This technology uses a plastic filament feed from a spool through a heated extrusion nozzle onto the model, a little like a glue gun. The nozzle can move in the x & y directions and the base moves in the z direction once each layer is complete. The part is produced by extruding melted plastic onto the previous layer or the base which immediately hardens forming a hard layer. Typically FDM printers have 2 nozzles, allowing support material to be printed in a dissolvable material like PVA for overhangs or to print with different colours.
Clean & easy to understand
Can print in 2 materials
Less post processing than SLA
Large material Library
Finish not as sharp as SLA
Can be slow at high resolution
Weakness in axis perpendicular to build axis