What types of printers and features are available with FFF and FDM printers today? What's the difference? Why does it matter? This video discusses such topics.
- [Instructor] Let's talk about FDM 3D printers, how the technology works and the variety of printers available on the market today. Okay, so big picture. We're talking about additive manufacturing which refers to any manufacturing process that builds up an object in layers. Sometimes this is called 3D printing and I use these two terms interchangeably throughout the course. There are many types of 3D printing, specifically we're talking about Fused Deposition Modeling, abbreviated FDM, which is just one type of 3D printing technology.
Here's how it works. Raw plastic comes on rolls in the form of filament. A motor pushes the plastic through a hot nozzle to create a stream of melted plastic. The 3D printer draws two-dimensional layers, one on top of the other, to create a three-dimensional form. Now there's a wide spectrum of FDM printers on the market and there are some main differences that you want to be aware of. High-end models are geared for industrial use. They print with a variety of production-grade thermoplastics and have the speed and reliability necessary for the industrial market.
They have multiple extruders so they can print in more than one material at once, a main polymer for the design and a second dissolvable polymer that is removed when the print is finished. Consumer-grade models typically have one extruder. They can print in one material at a time. In addition to the term FDM, you might hear the terms Fused Filament Fabrication or Plastic Jet Printing when referring to these entry-level desktop machines. Now I've laid this out as if it's all black and white, but it's really a spectrum.
There's a lot of middle ground that mixes industrial-grade features with consumer-grade technology. Here are common differences to look for. The number of extruders on the machine, whether it's optimized for one material or many, the overall build size, whether the printer is enclosed or open, the build plate. It might be heated or not and the surface treatment can vary. And then finally whether it has proprietary software or open source software. It's a diverse market and throughout this course, we'll talk about generalities that apply to all FDM machines as well as some specific concepts that apply to just some FDM machines.
The goal is to help you understand what features are available and to give you the tools to decide which design rules are the best fit for your 3D printer and your project.
- What is FDM?
- Thermoplastics and FDM
- CAD and CAM
- Creating supportless designs
- Optimizing for orientation
- Achieving accuracy and fit
- Visualizing your design with Cura and MakerBot Print
- Designing assemblies
- Working with Fusion 360
- 3D printing your design