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Fused Deposition Modeling

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Fused deposition modeling, also known as FDM or 3D printing, is an additive manufacturing process. FDM works additively, by laying down material layer by layer to ultimately form the desired shape. Thermoplastic filaments are the most common materials for FDM, and are generally unwound from a coil to supply the machine producing the part. 3D printings is popular for modeling, prototyping, and, in some instances, volume production applications.

FDM Process

Fused deposition modeling starts STL (stereolithography) files, which are used to mathematically slice and orient the model for layer by layer building. The model or part is produced by extruding small beads of material (from the above-mentioned coil) to form layers. The extrusion nozzle is heated past the glass transition temperature of the thermoplastic material; the material hardens immediately after extrusion from the 3D printer’s nozzle. Typically, worm gear drives or other similar devices are used to push the material filaments through the nozzle at a controlled rate. Part