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What is FDM 3D Printing? The Ultimate Guide

guide for fdm 3d printing

FDM is the most popular 3D Printing technology. Learn all to know about it and how to different in other method.

Fused Deposition Modeling or short for (FDM) is a material extrusion method of additive manufacturing where materials are extruded through a nozzle and joined together to create 3D printing objects.

FDM technology creates objects by layering thermoplastic filament, building them up gradually. Find top-quality components for fast prototyping and small-scale industrial manufacturing through Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printing. Our FDM services enable swift production with a diverse range of durable materials suitable for various applications.

In particular, the “standard” FDM process distinguishes itself from other material extrusion techniques, such as a concrete and food 3D printing, by using thermoplastics as feedstock materials, usually in the forms of filaments or pellets.

History of FDM 3D Printing

Although Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) has become the most common used 3D printing method, it might be surprising to learn that it wasn't the first of its kind. In fact, it wasn't even the second.

The history of Stereolithography (SLA) was filed three years before Scott Crump applied for the first FDM patent in 1989, and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) had its patent filed a year before FDM.

FDM became popular with non-commercial users through the RepRap community, also known as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF). The RepRap Project started in 2005 at the University of Bath, led by Adrian Bowyer, with the goal of developing self-replicating devices.

In 2009, MakerBot Industries was founded by former RepRap volunteers after the FDM patent expired. This was a big deal because MakerBot was one of the first non-industrial companies to sell open-source FDM 3D printers inspired by the RepRap project.

fdm cad to fdm 3d printing process

How FDM 3D Printing Work ?

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), alternatively referred to as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), is a technique utilized for crafting three-dimensional objects by precisely extruding and layering thermoplastics. Although it appears complicated initially, a deeper look reveals its fundamental simplicity. FDM major works using two systems : manages the materials extrusion and deposition, when the other controls the printhead's movement. Let's dive into how these systems work together to improve our understanding of FDM 3d printing.

Extrusion & Deposition Method of FDM 3D Printing

FDM extrusion and deposition method
extrusion and deposition method of FDM 3D Printing

The extrusion and deposition system in FDM 3D printing can be divide into two main parts: the “cold part” and the “hot part”. The thermoplastics used in FDM 3D printing often come in filament spools, and the cold end is responsible for feeding this material from the spool into the 3D printer. Like, the cold end also controls the rate at which material is being deposited on the other end, often referred to as flow.

Conversely, the hot end assumes a pivotal role in elevating the temperature of the plastic material to a level conducive for extrusion through a nozzle. This heating procedure entails indispensable elements such as heating cartridges, heatsinks, and notably, nozzles.

The symbiotic relationship between the cold and hot ends is indispensable, as they must collaborate seamlessly to extrude the precise amount of material at the optimal temperature and physical state, thereby ensuring the precise layering of each component.

Filament Used in FDM 3D Printing

FDM 3D Printing filament like petg, tpu, pla, abs

Filament for FDM 3D printers usually come in two standard diameters: 1.75 mm or 2.85 mm, depending on the printer's setup. It's worth noting that a 1.75-mm extruder is specifically designed for this filament size. ​ The most popular filaments in FDM 3D printing are PLA, PETG, TPU and ABS. PLA stands out as the most popular and friendly option because it's easy to print with, biodegradable, and doesn't produce strong odors.

However, it does have a downside of low heat resistance, as it softens at temperatures as low as 60 °C. ​ PETG has great temperature resistance, while TPU offer flexible properties and ABS offers strong mechanical properties. However, PETG can be tricky to 3D print due to oozing and stringing issues, while ABS requires a controlled printing environment due to toxic fumes.

Keep in mind that your experience with all filament may different based on your setup and the manufacturer. FDM printing is advantage for its material flexibility and easy accessibility in the market.


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