Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is an additive manufacturing technology that builds parts up layer-by-layer by heating and extruding thermoplastic filament. Ideal for building durable components with complex geometries in nearly any shape and size, FDM is the only 3D printing process that uses materials like ABS, PC-ISO polycarbonate, and ULTEM 9085. This means FDM can create parts and prototypes with outstanding thermal and chemical resistance, and excellent strength-to-weight ratios. With our fast lead times and finishing options, FDM is a smart choice for anything from concept models to production parts.
FDM: Frequently Asked Questions
- Are FDM parts as strong as components built using traditional manufacturing methods?
- Yes, but the orientation of a printed part on the build platform has an effect on its strength. Parts are considerably stronger along the X- and Y-axis of the build than the Z-axis. See the FDM design guidelines for more details.
- What level of detail can be obtained with FDM?
- FDM is available in several resolutions. At its highest resolution, the layer thickness is 0.005” and the X/Y resolution is 0.024”.
- Can inserts be staked or added during an FDM build?
- Washers, nuts, bolts, threaded rods, or other objects can be inserted mid-build by technicians without secondary operations.