Fused Deposition Modeling FAQ's

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Technology, invented by Stratasys, builds professional-quality models, prototypes and parts in a range of production-grade thermoplastics. It is easy to use, reliable, clean and office friendly. Learn more with some of the most frequently asked questions answered!

fused deposition modeling stratasys

1. What file format do I need to process a part for my Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) system?

The Short Answer — FDM requires the use of an STL file.

The Extended Version — The process of 3D printing begins with a 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) model. After the 3D model is created, it is exported as an STL file. The STL file is then imported into one of two Stratasys software program, Insight or Catalyst, depending on the intended printer. Within the Stratasys software, the user will determine the tool path for the 3D printer to create the model made from durable thermoplastics.

2. What materials are offered when using a Stratasys FDM 3D Printer?

The Short Answer — Fused deposition modeling technology uses thirteen different thermoplastics.

The Extended Version — Stratasys offers ten different types of thermoplastics, which are dependent on the 3D printer. Each material has unique properties to fit the need of a variety of applications. For a complete list of materials click here.

3. Can I print a model with multiple colors?

The Short Answer — Yes

The Extended Version — FDM allows users the choice of multiple colors throughout a single part. Using Stratasys proprietary software, a user can add a pause between any layers of a build. When the machine is paused the operator can load a canister of a different color and resume building on top of the previous color. This can only be done with various colors of the same material, and only on 3D Printers that use Insight Software.

4. Can we print hollowed or partially filled models for cost/weight reduction?

The Short Answer — Yes, when processing your parts in Catalyst or Insight you can create different internal properties to allow for less material to be used.

The Extended Version — Catalyst software which comes with the purchase of a uPrint or Dimension 3D Printer allows users to choose the model interior make up. There are three options: Solid, Sparse – high density, and Sparse – low density.

Insight software which comes with the purchase of a Fortus3D Production System allows users to modify the interior model with solid and sparse fills as well, creating a custom fill by using advanced tools within the software.

5. What 3D printers are compatible with FDM Thermoplastics?

The Short Answer — There are eleven different 3D printers compatible with fused deposition modeling Thermoplastics.

The Extended Version — The following printers are FDM complatible,  click the links to learn more.


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