A form of 3D printing technology that is largely used by our 3D printing company is fused deposition modeling, or FDM. Patented by Stratasys in the early 1980’s, this technology represents a leader in the 3D printing industry to this day.
3D printers that utilize FDM technology construct three dimensional models by heating a supply of thermoplastic material until it reaches a semi-fluid state and depositing it one layer at a time in a path dictated by the computer. Two materials go into an FDM printing job: the modeling material, which is going to make up the final model, and the support material, which serves to hold up the pieces of the model as needed during the process of printing. Both of these materials are fed through the printer’s print head to be spread out across the X and Y axis into a complete layer before the head moves up the Z axis and begins the next layer. After the printing is complete, the support material is either broken or dissolved away to give you a final product.
Fused deposition modeling has applications in both rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing, offering a selection of different thermoplastic materials to suit a wide range of modeling needs.