FDM Prototyping (Fused Deposition Modelling)

FDM prototyping is also an additive process similar to SLA, but the object is achieved by extruding small beads of thermoplastic material to form layers as the material hardens immediately after extrusion from the nozzle.

A plastic filament or metal wire of the customer choice of material is unwound from a coil and supplies material to an extrusion nozzle whichcan turn the flow on and off. There is a worm-drive that pushes

AT CISD we have a 3D Systems Cubex machine to build parts which uses the FDM process.

FDM prototyping is also an additive process similar to SLA, but the object is achieved by extruding small beads of thermoplastic material to form layers as the material hardens immediately after extrusion from the nozzle.

A plastic filament or metal wire of the customer choice of material is unwound from a coil and supplies material to an extrusion nozzle which can turn the flow on and off. There is a worm-drive that pushes the filament into the nozzle at a controlled rate. The nozzle is heated to melt the material. The thermoplastics are heated past their glass transition temperature and are then deposited by an extrusion head.

The nozzle can be moved in both horizontal and vertical directions by a numerically controlled computer mechanism which is derived from a CAD source. FDM is very flexible, and it is capable of dealing with small overhangs by the support from lower layers, FDM generally has some restrictions on the slope of the overhang, and cannot produce unsupported stalactites. FDM can use material such as ABS, PLA, polycarbonate, polyamides and polystyrene.

FDM is cheaper than SLA prototyping as the model is fixed and does not have moving parts and the operator must remove supports that were added by the computer software to make overhangs.

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