Overview

3D printing utilizing the extrusion of thermoplastic material is easily the most common and recognizable 3DP process. The most popular name for the process is Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM).

The process works by melting plastic filament that is deposited, via a heated extruder, a layer at a time, onto a build platform according to the 3D data supplied to the printer. Each layer hardens as it is deposited and bonds to the previous layer. The FDM/FFF processes require support structures for any applications with overhanging geometries.

The great advantage of FDM is the durable materials it uses, the stability of their mechanical properties over time, and the quality of the parts. The production-grade thermoplastic materials used in FDM are suitable for detailed functional prototypes, durable manufacturing tools and low-volume manufacturing parts.

Support structures, or lack thereof, have generally been a limitation of the entry level FFF 3D printers. However, as the systems have evolved and improved to incorporate dual extrusion heads, it has become less of an issue. Occasionally, the process can be slow for some part geometries and layer-to-layer adhesion can be a problem, resulting in parts that are not watertight.

Materials


PLA

Tensile Strength(MPa)Flexural Strength(MPa)Impact Strength(MPa)Melting Temperature°C
62.6365.024.28190 – 220

ABS

Tensile Strength(MPa)Flexural Strength(MPa)Impact Strength(MPa)Melting Temperature°C
40.9645.4422.11220 – 260

PETG

Tensile Strength(MPa)Flexural Strength(MPa)Impact Strength(MPa)Melting Temperature°C
49687.5230 – 250

Nylon

Tensile Strength(MPa)Flexural Strength(MPa)Impact Strength(MPa)Melting Temperature°C
50 – 5585 – 90354220 – 260

Poly Carbonate

Tensile Strength(MPa)Flexural Strength(MPa)Impact Strength(MPa)Melting Temperature°C
62.7100.43.41260 – 280

Wood

Tensile Strength(MPa)Flexural Strength(MPa)Impact Strength(MPa)Melting Temperature°C
23.252.92.06NA

Flexible

Tensile Strength(MPa)Flexural Strength(MPa)Impact Strength(MPa)Melting Temperature°C
13.85NANA190 – 220

HIPS

Tensile Strength(MPa)Flexural Strength(MPa)Impact Strength(MPa)Melting Temperature°C
26.532.9410.89220 – 260

Prototypes for form, fit and function testing

Prototypes directly constructed in production materials like ABS, Nylon

Low-volume production of complex end-use parts

Patterns for Sand casting & molds with lesser detailing

Minimum Wall thickness : 1.2 mm

Minimum details size : 2 mm (for text/ hole diameters etc)

Layer thickness : 0.1 mm – 0.3 mm

Max dimensions : 650 x 600 x 600 mm. Large parts can be created with assembling individual parts by interlocking designs or glueing together.

Standard Accuracy : ± 0.3% (with lower limit on ± 0.3 mm).

Lead Time : Minimum 2 working days for despatch

Surface finish : visible layers with texture.

Basic : Support Removal, Sanding, Smoothing

Add on : Primer, Coating / Painting