ABOUT FDM 3D PRINTING

FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) 3D printing is our most commonly used build process.

FDM 3D printing allows the creation of rigid, strong, durable and dimensionally stable parts, ideal for functional applications.

All FDM prints are built in a PLA plastic or an industrial grade ABS plastic for a more functional build. These are both available in a range of colours, allowing designs to posses properties very similar to those of mass production parts.

Professional grade FDM machines are not to be mistaken for desktop 3D printers. Our Stratasys machines use dual extrusion to switch between model material and support material. This ensure complete accuracy by supporting the model material whilst it cools. Furthermore, the support material allows complex features and overhangs to be formed.

 

Once the print is completed, the soluble support material is removed using a cleaning bath. This ensures delicate and intricate features are not damaged by the support removal process. It also means complex and function assemblies with multiple moving parts can be created in a single build.

 

Prints can be used for anything from one off prototypes through to low volume manufacturing.

HOW DOES

FDM 3D PRINTING WORK?

Before starting the build process, Fused Deposition Modelling software begins by reading a .STL file and generating a build path.

 

ABS plastic is then fed into the extrusion head and heated to a molten state where it can be applied to a flat build platform following the predetermined path. The 3D printer continues to build the part in layers 0.25mm apart, using support material to support overhangs and cavities.

Our professional grade machines use features such as temperature controlled chambers and the dual extrusion process to ensure a good surface finish and exceptional durability, every time.

WHEN TO USE FDM 3D PRINTING

All prints are created in ABS plastic. This offers many benefits such as high strength, durability and temperature resistance. Parts are dimensionally stable and offer a good surface finish.

This makes FDM parts ideal for a range of real world applications such as:

Functional Prototypes

Pre Injection Moulding Prototypes

Low Volume Production Parts

Injection Moulded Part Replication

Rigid Components

Fixtures

Printing Blocks

Jigs

FDM PRINTING PROS

Cost effective

Short lead times

High strength and durability

Dimensional stability and accuracy

Temperature resistant material

Easy to sand, drill and work with

Adjustable material density

Ideal for small scale batch production

Can print pre-assembled assemblies

ABS material similar to mass production ABS properties

FDM PRINTING CONS

Unable to create very intricate details

Not ideal for organic shapes as process can leave a contoured finish

0.25mm layers visible on surface finish

Small holes can require post drilling for accuracy

Thin tall details such as catches and pins can be weak

Dimensional accuracy not as good as SLA printing

Small text not always legible

Wall thicknesses less than 1mm difficult to form

Accuracy limited by nozzle diameter (0.25mm accuracy)

WORK EXAMPLE: CYCLING SHOE SPD CLEAT DESIGN

This functional model was used to prototype a  SPD hinge system within the a cycling shoe. It featured working hinges and bosses for mechanical fixings.

Note: This project was for educational purposed only. Print My Part Ltd do not own the original SPD or SPD cleat design.

DESIGN GUIDELINES

Read our detailed design guidelines for designing parts for the FDM 3D printing process.

© Sooko Ltd (T/A Print My Part). Registered in England and Wales Number: 09730011. 

Unit 19B, eSpace North, Wisbech Road, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB6 1RA, United Kingdom

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