The Foundation to Build on
Trusting the materials you use is vital. We don’t trust what we don’t know or understand. Your materials are the foundation from which you create and build. Without a solid foundation, you risk success and peace of mind. It all starts with a solid foundation.
Understanding FDM Materials
FDM technology builds parts layer-by-layer from the bottom up by heating and extruding thermoplastic filament.
During pre-processing, build-preparation software slices and positions a 3D Computer-Aided Design (CAD) file and calculates a path to extrude thermoplastic and any necessary support material. In production, thermoplastic filament feeds through a heated head and exits, under high pressure, as a fine thread of semi-molten plastic.
In a heated chamber, this extrusion process lays down a continuous bead of plastic to form a layer. Where support or buffering is needed, the 3D printer deposits a removable material that acts as scaffolding. This layering process repeats to manufacture thermoplastic parts.
Post-processing involves the removal of support material, either by manually breaking it away or dissolving it in detergent and water. The part is then ready to use.
FDM printers offer unparalleled versatility in durable parts. They are tough enough to be used as advanced conceptual models, functional prototypes, manufacturing tools and production parts.
Material options range from commonly used plastics like ABS and ASA to the highly advanced, like ULTEM ™ 9085 resin and TPU-92A, our most flexible material yet. They include anti-static, FST rating (flame, smoke and toxicity), chemical resistance and very high-temperature resistance. FDM can also make soluble patterns for challenging manufacturing jobs. FDM offers bio-compatible materials with USP Plastic Class VI to ISO 10993 ratings. They can be used for hearing aids, dental procedures, surgical guides and fixtures, and food and pharmaceutical processing.
The Bottom Line
FDM technology is clean, simple to use and office friendly due to supporting production-grade thermoplastics that are mechanically and environmentally stable. Complex geometries and cavities that would otherwise be problematic become practical with FDM technology.
FDM technology uses production-grade thermoplastics and builds strong, long-lasting and dimensionally stable parts with the best accuracy and repeatability of any 3D printing technology.
This valuable information was derived from Stratasys’ White Paper on FDM vs PolyJet 3D Printing. To further understand FDM technology and its benefits, download the White Paper.