It is true that additive manufacturing or 3D printing has been one of the most popular methods of creating prototypes since the ’80s. It is quickly becoming the fastest and most affordable way of creating custom consumer goods. There are several methods of 3D printing. The most popular way is Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). The FDM printers make use of thermoplastic filament that is heated to a certain melting point and then extruded layer by layer for creating a dimensional object. Now, the question that comes is how does Fused Deposition modeling technology work? In this blog from Global 3D, we are going to explain the technology of fused deposition modeling, its advantages and its challenges as well in simple terms.
How Fused Deposition Modeling works?
The objects that are created using fused deposition modeling work out as a computer-aided design (CAD) files. Before the object can be printed, the CAD file needs to be converted into a format that the 3D printer can understand, which is usually .STL format. The Fused Deposition Modeling utilises two kinds of materials. One is the modeling material that comprises of a finished object and the other is a support material that acts as scaffolding for supporting the object while it is being printed.
While printing, these materials take the form of plastic threads or filaments that are unwound form of a coil and they are fed through an extension nozzle. The nozzle then melts the filaments and extrudes them on a base, which is sometimes known as a build or table. The nozzle and base are controlled by a computer which translates the dimensions of an object into X, Y, and Z coordinates for the nozzle and base to follow while printing.
The time of printing varies according to the size of the object that is being manufactured. Small objects (just a few cubic inches), tall or thin objects print quickly, while the larger ones that are more geometrically complicated in nature, take longer to print.
The advantages of Fused Deposition Modeling
- One of the primary advantages of fused deposition modeling is the costs of using this technology is much less. The technique is user-friendly as well. In comparison to other 3D printing technologies, fused deposition modeling is cheaper.
- The range of materials utilised by the company is extensive and you can switch materials easily. Companies can choose to print ample materials. This makes it easier to use this technology and print a multitude of materials.
- Compared to other 3D printing technology, fused deposition modeling requires a lot of post-processing. You don’t have to knock off powder or be careful about costly liquids. With FDM, there is no post-processing.
- Finally, fused modeling technology is very much more accessible other than 3D printing techniques. People can easily pick up on this technology.
The disadvantages of fused deposition modeling (FDM)
- One of the primary disadvantages of fused deposition modeling method is, it is a slow process.
- Another disadvantage of this technology is the extrusion head needs to continue moving or else the material will bump up. So, it requires support.
Overall, these two disadvantages can be handled easily and FDM still remains one of the best ways of 3D printing technology.