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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 process

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.

More

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. 

Advantages:

Clean & easy to understand

Can print in 2 materials

User friendly

Less post processing than SLA

High strength

Large material Library 

Disadvantages:

Finish not as sharp as SLA

Can be slow at high resolution

Weakness in axis perpendicular to build axis

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