Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is a 3D printing technology that builds objects layer by layer by extruding molten plastic material. Here's a basic overview of how FDM 3D printers work:
Filament Material: FDM printers use a spool of thermoplastic filament, usually made of materials like PLA (Polylactic Acid) or ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). The filament is fed into a heated extruder.
Heated Extruder: The extruder is a nozzle that heats up to melt the filament. The melted plastic is then extruded through the nozzle onto the build platform.
Layer-by-Layer Printing: The 3D model is sliced into layers by slicing software. The printer then builds the object layer by layer, with each layer bonding to the previous one as it cools.
Build Platform: The build platform is where the 3D print is created. It can move along the vertical axis, allowing for the layer-by-layer construction of the object.
Cooling: After each layer is deposited, there is a brief cooling period to solidify the plastic before the next layer is added. Some printers have additional cooling systems to enhance print quality.
FDM 3D printing has several advantages:
Material Variety: There's a wide range of filament materials available, offering different properties such as strength, flexibility, and color options.
Ease of Use: FDM printers are generally easy to use and are suitable for a wide range of applications.
Affordability: FDM printers are often more affordable compared to other 3D printing technologies.
Open Source: Many FDM printers and their software are open source, allowing users to modify and improve upon them.
However, FDM also has some limitations:
Layer Resolution: FDM prints can have visible layer lines, affecting surface finish. Higher layer resolutions can reduce this effect but may increase print time.
Overhangs and Support Structures: FDM struggles with printing overhanging structures without support material, which can be time-consuming to remove.
Material Constraints: While there's a variety of filament materials, they are not suitable for all applications, especially those requiring high-temperature resistance or extreme precision.
Some FDM 3D Printers in the common marketplaces for beginners and professionals are as follows,
Overall, FDM 3D printers are popular for hobbyists, educators, and prototyping due to their accessibility and versatility. They are widely used in various industries for rapid prototyping and creating functional parts.