How Stratasys' FDM 3D Printing Technology Works
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Technology is a powerful Stratasys-patented additive manufacturing method.
FDM builds concept models, functional prototypes and end-use parts in standard, engineering-grade and high-performance thermoplastics. It’s the only professional 3D printing technology that uses production-grade thermoplastics, so parts are unrivaled in mechanical, thermal and chemical strength.
The Invention of FDM Technology
Stratasys founder Scott Crump invented FDM Technology more than 20 years ago, and Stratasys has continued to lead the 3D printing revolution ever since, developing a range of systems that appeal to large manufacturers, designers, engineers, educators and other professionals.
How FDM Works
3D printers that run on FDM Technology build parts layer-by-layer by heating thermoplastic material to a semi-liquid state and extruding it according to computer-controlled paths.
FDM uses two materials to execute a print job: modeling material, which constitutes the finished piece, and support material, which acts as scaffolding. Material filaments are fed from the 3D printer’s material bays to the print head, which moves in X and Y coordinates, depositing material to complete each layer before the base moves down the Z axis and the next layer begins.
Once the 3D printer is done building, the user breaks the support material away or dissolves it in detergent and water, and the part is ready to use.
FDM is a clean, simple-to-use, office-friendly 3D printing process. Thermoplastic parts can endure exposure to heat, chemicals, humid or dry environments, and mechanical stress. Soluble support materials make it possible to produce complex geometries and cavities that would be difficult to build with traditional manufacturing methods.