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Should You Use FDM 3D Printing Services to Build Parts?

With several different 3D printing methods accessible to commercial and industrial businesses, knowing which one  is suitable for your application can be challenging. If you’ve already checked out our blogs on the benefits of SLS printing and SLA printing, but still want to learn more – this is the article for you. Here, we delve into the process behind FDM 3D printing and answer four of the most common questions about this method.

1. What is FDM 3D printing?

Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), for starters, creates 3D printed objects by moving an extrusion nozzle both horizontally and vertically over a build platform. By heating solid plastic filament until it reaches its melting point, this complex thermoplastic material is extruded layer by layer until it creates a 3D printed object.

As the nozzle makes its way around a specially determined path, these layers quickly fuse to form the final product. Alongside several other common thermoplastic materials such as ABS and PLA, FDM 3D printing can be used with industrial materials including ABS-ESD7 – a product that dissipates static charges and Carbon Fiber (Nylon 12CF) – a material that features extremely high flexural strength and stiffness-to-weight ratio. A complete list of FDM industrial materials can be found here.

2. What’s the main difference between FDM and other forms of 3D printing?

When you compare FDM 3D printing to other processes of 3D printing , perhaps the most significant difference is accuracy and surface finish. Despite all 3D printing processes creating objects in layers, as the FDM method rely on nozzle size to determine the thickness of its molten material, FDM 3D printed parts usually have visible fine lines.  Another limitation of FDM is this process is not suitable for producing intricate and fine designs due to the nature of the  process itself. 

However, FDM 3D printing has considerable upsides too. A key advantage of FDM 3D printing is its wide range of engineering materials available in the market compare to other 3D processes like SLA, SLS and MJF. The technology is much more straightforward and making it an ideal choice for beginners to 3D printing. Furthermore, the widespread use of FDM printing in the consumer market means a diverse range of colours and specialised filaments are available in contrast to other forms of 3D printing. Despite previous notions that FDM 3D printed products are only good for prototypes due to its lack of durability, the rise of industrial materials compatible with FDM 3D printing in recent years (ABS-ESD7, Carbon Fiber (Nylon 12CF), ASA, PC-ISO and more) have proved its ability to create functional parts.

3. Can I use FDM 3D printing to build parts?

In the past, businesses relied on slow and expensive traditional manufacturing methods such as CNC machining and injection moulding to discover whether their product idea was viable in strength, longevity and thermal resistance. However, FDM 3D printing now offers companies a means to have a fast and accessible way to test their proof of concept.

Using this streamlined approach instead of time-consuming traditional manufacturing, your business can quickly determine whether its prototype is functional. If not, the early product development process is significantly sped up as you can easily implement fine-tuned adjustments to land on the ideal design.

Once satisfied, FDM 3D printing also provides an affordable way to prototype additional parts and future developments.

4. How long does it take to print the object?

In terms of speed, FDM 3D printing is one of the fastest technologies for building parts.. Simple prints can even be finished within a few hours! This means the production lead time required for a product is greatly shortened to 1 to 2 weeks time, depending on the quantity desired and inclusive of time taken for file checking and modifying. With rapid print speeds and relatively simple post-processing, FDM 3D printing services are a smart choice for those looking to prototype with maximum efficiency.

Start 3D Printing Today

When it comes to high-quality 3D printing services in Singapore, Additive3D Asia can be the go-to choice for all your manufacturing needs. If you’re unsure how to get started with building parts using this exciting technology, our experienced team can provide answers to all your questions. To find out more about FDM 3D printing or any other services, get in touch today.

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