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FDM is a fundamental 3d printing technology that is among the most additive manufacturing methods across industries. From personal use to the medical industry and consumer product manufacturing — companies use FDM 3d printing as it’s handy, efficient, and fast. FDM technology is also known as FFF (fused filament fabrication).
The image used for illustration purposes. Zeal 3D Printing is not the owner or creator of the image. (Image Source: Tom Claes on Unsplash)
How Does FDM Technology Work?
The working of fused deposition modeling or FDM technology is straightforward compared to several other complex printing methods. This 3d printing process involves three basic steps, which are:
First, a spool of thermoplastic FDM material is loaded into the printer. As soon as the nozzle reaches the needed temperature, the material is fed into the extrusion head and in the nozzle, where the melting process begins.
After the printer is loaded with material, engineers attach the extrusion head to a 3-axis mechanism that moves across the X, Y and Z directions. The hot melted material is then extruded in thin threads, and the nozzle starts depositing the material in a layer-by-layer manner following the CAD file’s design instructions.
The FDM printer repeats this complete additive manufacturing technique multiple times to fill an area and complete the design. When one layer is ready and cool, the printing platform will move down, and the nozzle will deposit a new layer. This process will continue till the design is fully prepared.
Characteristics of FDM Additive Manufacturing
FDM technology in 3d printing has some unique characteristics, and users need to know before trying their hands-on this advancement. Regardless of 3d printing solutions, there are certain important considerations that you need to know. Below are the most important key aspects of FDM technology that should know and follow:
The first critical thing you need to know is FDM printers come with several adjustment modes that let you alter several process parameters. Important parameters that you can control are the temperature of the nozzle & build platform, layer height, build speed, cooling fan’s rotation speed, and nozzle movement.
The operator pre-set all these parameters; however, if you need the 3d printer to work in a specific manner, you can manage the parameters. Otherwise, the designers shouldn’t bother about setting these parameters every time they print something.
In FDM technology, warping is among the common issues that operators face while printing the objects. The extruded filament cools down in the solidification process, the dimensions decrease. As a design has multiple sections and all cool at different rates, the warping becomes a challenge to manage. The difference in cooling speeds creates internal stress.
For overcoming this issue, the operator needs to monitor and manage the temperature of the FDM printer system, including the build platform and chamber. Another solution to avoid this issue is to increase the adhesion between the build platform and the part.
Good layer adhesion
Layer adhesion is a critical process and should be done correctly. When the thermoplastic is ejected from the nozzle, it’s forced against the previous year. During this process, the high temperature and pressure melt the last layer again, and it bonds the two layers firmly. A vital thing to note here is that the strength between the two layers is lower than the base strength.
Popular FDM Materials
There are plenty of FDM materials available in the market that offers distinctive characteristics, surface finishing, strength, and resistance. Below are some popular FDM materials that several companies use in different industries:
- ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
- PLA (Polylactic Acid)
- PETG (Glycolized Polyester)
- TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane)
FDM 3d printing service brings in several advantages in terms of cost, turnaround time, product quality, and more. Here are some transforming benefits of this technology:
- This technology is simple to use and clean, and a beginner can also operate the machine.
- FDM supports industry-grade thermoplastics that are of high mechanical quality and environmentally stable.
- This additive manufacturing technology can print intricate geometries and cavities seamlessly.
- The turnaround times of FDM technology are short.
- FDM printers support a wide range of materials that improve the creative and aesthetic characteristics of the product.
Explore FDM with Zeal 3D Printing
Are you looking for a professional additive manufacturing company for your project? Your search completes at Zea. We are an ISO 9001-2015 certified offering full-fledged 3d printing service in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, and across Australia. From design drafting to modeling and 3d printing, our experts cover everything.