Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), also called Fused Filament Forming (FFF), is an additive manufacturing technology commonly used for modeling, prototyping, and production applications. It is one of the techniques used for 3D printing.
FDM works on an "additive" principle by laying down material in layers; a plastic filament is unwound from a coil and supplies material to produce a part.
FDM begins with a software process which processes an STL file (stereolithography file format), mathematically slicing and orienting the model for the build process. If required, support structures may be generated.
The model or part is then produced by extruding small flattened strings of molten material to form layers as the material hardens immediately after extrusion from the nozzle. An extruder motor pushes the filament into the nozzle at a controlled rate. The nozzle is heated to melt the material. The thermoplastics are heated past their glass transition temperature and are then deposited on the build plate.
The nozzle follows a tool-path controlled by a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software package, and the part is built from the bottom up, one layer at a time. The mechanism used is often an X-Y-Z cartesian design or a three-tower deltabot design.
Although as a printing technology FDM is very flexible, and it is capable of dealing with small overhangs by the support from lower layers, FDM generally has some restrictions on the slope of the overhang, and cannot produce unsupported stalactites.
Myriad materials are available, such as Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene ABS, Polylactic acid PLA, Polycarbonate PC, Polyamide PA, Polystyrene PS, lignin, rubber, among many others, with different trade-offs between strength and temperature properties. The printers at Fab Lab El Paso typically use PLA.
Print Material: Polylactic Acid (PLA); other thermoplastics may occasionally be used.
Print temperatures: 200°C - 240°C
Print bed temperatures: 60°C - 120°C
Print speeds: 10 mm/s - 100 mm/s
Print resolution: 100 µm - 400 µm
Please carefully read all the instructions before attempting to operate a
NEVER operate a 3D printer without proper ventilation in the area.
NEVER touch the hot end of the printer. It is usually around 200°C and will burn you.
NEVER make any modifications to the 3D printers or safety features.
NEVER attempt to use any type of filament or print material other than what is provided or approved by the staff.
DO NOT place body parts, tools or other materials in the print area during operation.
AVOID breathing near the hotend where filament is being melted.
Use of controls or adjustments or performance of procedures other than those specified herein may result in severe burn.
If a 3D printer needs to be adjusted or serviced, please alert a staff member immediately.
NEVER attempt to make adjustments yourself or open the electronics cabinet without staff supervision. You could seriously injure yourself and damage the machine.
Some 3D printer components are sensitive to electrostatic discharge. Make sure you don't have a static charge on you before touching any electrical component of the printer. Touch a grounded object before operating or attempting any adjustments.
If opening a 3D printer cabinet for service, ensure that the power supply is turned OFF and the cord is disconnected.
Do not attempt to change material color in the middle of an active print session. Doing so may ruin the active print and damage the 3D printer.
Avoid touching any component of the printer during operation to achieve the best print results.
Don’t touch the print head during auto-leveling. Doing so will cause an inaccurate reading and can cause the probe to damage the build platform.
Be careful not to bump the extruder or filament spool as it could cause the plastic to deposit unevenly.