3D Printing is an additive manufacturing process that includes printing three-dimensional models through different types of 3D Printers. Each of the 3D Printers works on an additive manufacturing process which means they create the object layer-by-layer. None of the 3D Printers works on subtractive manufacturing that includes cutting or shaping of 3D models.
Among all one, the most popular 3D printing process is considered FDM. It has nearly 16% of the total market share but is even more popular than it seems so there is information about why FDM is popular in the 3D printing market and how it works?
Fused Deposition Modelling: An Overview
Fused Filament Fabrication is also known as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or filament freeform fabrication is a type of 3D printing process which uses a continuous filament of thermoplastic material. The formation material is placed from a large spool by moving a heated printer extruder head. An FDM printer works by expelling a plastic fiber layer-by-layer onto the forming stage.
It is a layer additive manufacturing process that uses production-grade thermoplastic material to produce both prototype and end-use parts. This technology is known to accurately feature details and has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. Among all the 3D printing processes FDM is considered one of the most useful ways for 3D modeling. Here user gets a lot of options for their creative ideas.
Fused Deposition modeling is a technology where the extraction method is used to deposit filament of thermal plastic as per set pattern. Like 3DP, the layout of FDM consists of a printhead able to move the X-axis and Y-axis upon the build platform. The polymer is extruded through the heated nozzle and laid the filament according to the preset program of CAD design. The build is then lowered after one complete fusion overbuilds the surface. The process continues till the whole model is completed.
Usually, polymers with a low transition temperature such as PCL, are considered for the fabrication of such modeling. Like SLS, the most important advantage of FDM over 3DP is that it doesn’t require any organic solvent and there isn’t any headache for the removal of excess polymer powder.
How does FDM Works?
In the above graphics, the plastic filament or the thermoplastic material is carried to the molten paste chamber by the driving motor where it changes the state of the build material from solid to liquid. At the terminal of the molten phase chamber, a sharp nozzle is fitted which releases the molten thermoplastic material very slowly on the fabrication model. After it releases the liquid solidified. The pattern and the amount, as well as volume to be released from the nozzle tip, are totally based on CAD.
The process began with a 3D CAD (Computer-aided design) model where a heated amount nozzle melts the polymer powder into liquid and laid them layer by layer on a build tray. Slicing software divides the printing model into numerous slices and the program is fitted in the computer. Each layer can be 0.1mm to 0.5mm thickness based on the desired resolution.
FDM printed parts are used massively in industries. It has numerous applications in industries. From to final parts, companies in the automotive, aerospace, medical, maritime, and railway have already adapted the application using the FDM process.
The A&D (Aerospace and Defense) is one of the earliest adopters of FDM. Now after three decades, the A&D sector represents 16.8% of the total market share. FDM is used to make side panels in flights to reduce the weight and volume ratio in comparison to other substances’ has used the prototype of enemies in practice sessions of militants.
FDM models are even in shooting practice 9f bullets so that soldiers have a sense of reality while practicing. The automotive sector uses FDM-made humans models in cars to check their safety measures in crash tests and other safety tests.
With FDM 3D printed thermoplastic filament, we can achieve specialized properties like toughness, electrostatic dissipation, translucency, bio-compatibility, Uv resistance, and high heat deflection. This gives FDM a range of applications from classroom projects to lightweight ductwork on commercial aircraft. Names of some commonly used material to create FDM models are;
- ABS Plus
- Nylon 12
- Nylon 12 CF
- ULTEM 1010
- ULTEM 9085
However, there are many more products that are used for the process of Fused Deposition Modelling or FDM in 3D Printing that isn’t listed in the article due to their low efficiency and low volume of usage.
Another reason that FDM is popular over other printing processes is because of the advantages it offers to the user. Some of the advantages that you get from are;
- FDM printers are generally affordable.
- It creates geometrical structures very accurately.
- It us consistent about similar type model making.
- Parts with good stability and durability as well.
- It has several options for the use of thermoplastic material.
- The required build material of FDM is generally inexpensive and easily available in market.
- It creates more precise and high-quality object.
- FDM is comparatively easy to use and one can easily learn 3D printing using FDM process.
- The FDM base of FDM is very wide so it made learning easy to the new user.
- FDM is faster than most of another printer.