FDM describes the workpiece structure by extruding a molten, wire-shaped starting material. The layer thickness is 0.25 mm and a minimum wall thickness of up to 0.5 mm can be achieved. Generally, any meltable materials can be processed.  

The material is heated via a heating nozzle (temperature slightly above the melting temperature) and applied to a carrier plate or to the previously applied layer. The carrier platform is then lowered to apply the next layer.

Support geometry for overhanging structures

Two heating nozzles, each with different wire rollers, are used to generate the model. One roller applies the support material, the other supports the actual construction of the master model. The support geometry is subsequently removed in a biodegradable water bath using ultrasound.

FDM process

(1) Support or model material roller
(2) Heating head
(3) Component
(4) Platform

Application area: Models

Until now, ABS (thermoplastic) and PC (thermoplastic) were predominantly used due to their low melting temperature. ULTEM (= brand name of General Electric = PEI = polyetherimide) has also been used as a usable FDM material alongside the other common types for several years now.
The FDM process is used to produce master models for plastic parts as well as models for use in lost-wax processes, such as investment casting, in this case using ABS.

Cooling fins: FDM component
FDM component made of ABS