Searching for the best experts in fused deposition modeling? Our team at Alexander Daniels Global can help. In this article, we’ll explain one of the most common additive manufacturing processes, fused deposition modeling, including how it works and its benefits.

What is fused deposition modeling?

Fused deposition modeling is also known as Fused Filament Fabrication and is an additive manufacturing process found in 3D printing. It’s one of the most common 3D printing technologies and works by building layers of thermoplastic filament into three-dimensional objects.

How does fused deposition modeling work?

One of the reasons why fused deposition modelling is one of the more common 3D printing technologies is because of its simple process. The FDM process can be broken down into the following steps.

Step 1: CAD Design

The first step is the design process, this is where a 3D digital model is created using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. The design process outlines the size and shape of the 3D-printed product.  

Step 2: Slicing

After the CAD design has been assembled, the 3D model is sliced into thin layers using specialist software. Each layer is then translated into a code that guides the 3D printer on how to deposit the material.

Step 3: Liquification

The sliced CAD design is sent to the FDM 3D printer where the solid build filament material (usually acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or polylactic acid) is heated to the point of liquification in the liquefier head.

Step 4: Extrusion

The liquid filament is then fed through the nozzle and is deposited on the build platform starting from the bottom layer. The print head moves along the X and Y axis to create each layer. The layering process continues until the whole product has been formed. Supports are then added to the structure if needed.

Step 5: Solidification

The filament has a high cooling temperature, resulting in a quick cooling process where each layer quickly fuses with the layer below it. This creates the shape of the 3D structure. Once the design has solidified, any supporting structures can be removed.

What Industries and applications use Fused Deposition Modeling?

Fused Deposition Modelling can be used across a wide range of industries such as construction, medical, automotive, aerospace and robotics.

It has a wide range of applications including;

  • Rapid Prototyping: Where FDM is used to quickly create physical models of new product designs.
  • Conceptual Modeling: Where FDM is used to create mockups and concept models for presentations and design reviews.
  • Tooling: Where FDM is employed to create custom tools and parts to aid in assembly and product operations.

What are the advantages of fused deposition modelling?

There are a number of positive benefits of using fused deposition modeling which makes it a popular choice for additive manufacturing processes.

Cost Effective

Fused deposition modeling is generally more cost effective than other methods of additive manufacturing, such as stereolithography, for a number of reasons, including;

  • Affordable equipment and materials: The equipment is usually more affordable, which makes FDM more accessible for smaller businesses. The thermoplastic filaments used in 3D printing are readily available and come in a wide range of prices, from budget-friendly to premium.
  • Low waste: As an additive manufacturing process, FDM builds objects on a layer-by-layer basis, meaning it only uses the exact amount of material needed to build the product or prototype, resulting in no material waste.
  • Low energy consumption: The main source of energy consumption in additive manufacturing is heating the filament resulting in less energy consumption compared to other additive manufacturing processes.

Wide Range of Materials

There are several versatile materials that can be used for FDM printing including Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, Polylactic Acid and Nylon. The properties of these materials range from being flexible and stretchy, to strong and rigid. Specialist materials can be used such as carbon fiber and Kevlar.

Ease of Use

The simple set-up of FDM makes it one of the easiest forms of additive manufacturing, which is one of the reasons that it’s used by professionals and hobbyists alike. It also comes with user-friendly slicing software that prepares 3D models for printing.

There is usually a minimal amount of post processing needed as the surface finish is of a higher standard than other additive manufacturing technologies.

Large Build Volume

As well as fast printing times, FDM offers a significant build volume which allows for both the production of larger parts or multiple smaller parts in one single print job. This makes FDM suitable for creating functional prototypes or large-scale objects.

How can Alexander Daniels Global Help?

Here at Alexander Daniels Global, we conduct direct sourcing through targeted headhunting to access inactive candidates alongside our database and extensive network of active candidates. To put it simply, your recruitment needs for AM Talent with Fused Deposition Modeling experience can be seamlessly handled by our specialist team – putting the right candidates in front of you when you need them most.

Alternatively, if you’re working in the additive or advanced manufacturing industry with fused deposition modeling, browse our career portal to apply for our varied open job vacancies.

For more information about how we can help, contact our team of expert recruiters today. We also have a wealth of HR resources, such as our annual salary survey report to help you stay on top of hiring trends.

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