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.
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 or PLA 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 or PLA 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:
Pre Injection Moulding Prototypes
Low Volume Production Parts
Injection Moulded Part Replication
FDM PRINTING PROS
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.