Fused Deposition Modeling rapid prototyping & FDM 3D printing services


  • What is Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)?

FDM Fused Deposition Modeling rapid prototyping is a 3D printing process used by today’s desktop units with industrial units available as well. This process uses thermoplastic material which is first melted then extruded from a moving nozzle. FDM prototyping printers use a spool of wire-shaped filament that often consists of ABS or PLA plastic, although additional materials such as Nylon, PVA, TPE, Soft PLA, Laybrick, Laywood, and HDPE can be used.

In FDM prototyping services, a gear system pushes filament toward the nozzle. As it approaches the heating assembly, it’s melted beyond its glass transition temperature and deposited onto the build surface. The nozzle itself moves about the X and Y axes, driven by a predetermined numerically controlled tool-path. As each cross-sectional layer is extruded, the build platform (Z axis) moves downward setting up position for the next successive layer of melted material. The process is repeated until these many layers form a physical 3D print.

What type of objects can I have prototyped with an FDM prototyping service?

FDM prototyping and 3d printing services primarily use thermoplastic materials such as PLA or ABS. Both offer very accurate results with suitable resolution for display pieces. As 3D printing on demand matures, so do its material offerings. New Fused Deposition Modeling filaments are being used for both rapid prototyping services as well as home desktop units. Since the explosive growth of 3D printing post-2010, a number of materials have hit the market which are available for FDM prototyping applications. This includes flexible, electrostatic dissipation, color change, rubberized, nylon, dissolvable, and glow in the dark filament for a variety of rapid prototyping applications.

FDM prototyping service are typically more affordable than other 3D printing processes. Depending on the material and application, Fused Deposition Modeling will work for professional prototypes, models, and parts that require a degree of mechanical function. FDM 3D prototyping machines are used in countless industries from aerospace and medical to toys and jewelry.

Are there any disadvantages to FDM prototyping?

This really depends on the design intent of a 3D object when using an FDM prototyping and 3d printing service. While resolutions are excellent, overall surface appearance is not as smooth or comparable to other forms of 3D printing services (which tend to be more expensive). FDM prototyping services are not as suitable for objects with extraordinary detail (for example, the Eifel Tower) but are still capable. If you’re interested in batch manufacturing objects, sometimes Fused Deposition Modeling may be too slow of a process. As for strength and durability, the performance of FDM prototyped parts is dependent on the overall design and type of plastic used (for example, ABS is more durable than PLA).

Our FDM Prototyping Services

Our company maintains an exclusive suite of professional rapid prototyping services to suit any industry or application. Our team thrives on industry experience, quality control standards, and strategic alliances.

No matter the complexity of your project, we’ll offer:

1)            Budget friendly service with fast turnaround times.

2)            A consultative approach to creating your prototype design: service recommendations, 3D modeling, and material selection.

3)            The largest network of FDM rapid prototyping services on the west coast, with access to a diverse set of 3D rapid prototyping equipment.

How do I get started having my object prototyped with FDM 3D print services?

Feel free to contact us through our website or over the phone for any questions. Our team comes from a variety of industries using rapid prototyping services in their design cycle. We leverage a diverse set of prototyping services so that your product is done with speed, accuracy, and quality.