How 3D printing works (FDM)

How 3D printing works (FDM)

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is one of the most popular 3D printing technologies available today. It works by building objects layer by layer using a plastic filament that is melted and extruded through a small nozzle. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at how FDM 3D printing works.

The Basics of FDM 3D Printing

The FDM 3D printing process involves several steps. First, a 3D model is created using computer-aided design (CAD) software. This digital model is then sliced into hundreds or thousands of thin layers, each of which is then sent to the 3D printer. The printer reads these layers and uses them to create the object one layer at a time.

FDM 3D Printing

The Printing Process

Once the 3D model has been sliced, the FDM printer begins to build the object. The printer starts by heating the plastic filament, which is typically made of thermoplastic materials such as ABS or PLA. The filament is fed into the printer's extruder, where it is melted and then extruded through a small nozzle.

As the printer moves along the X, Y, and Z axes, it deposits the melted plastic layer by layer, building up the object from the bottom up. Once a layer is complete, the printer moves up slightly and begins to deposit the next layer. This process is repeated until the entire object is complete.

One of the advantages of FDM 3D printing is that it allows for the creation of complex geometries and internal cavities. This is because the printer can create support structures to hold up overhanging or unsupported parts of the object. Once the object is complete, these support structures can be easily removed by hand or with a pair of pliers.


After the object is printed, it may require post-processing to clean up any imperfections or rough edges. This can be done by sanding, polishing, or painting the object. Additionally, if the object was printed with support structures, these can be removed using a pair of pliers or a special tool.

Final Thoughts

FDM 3D printing is a powerful and accessible technology that allows for the creation of complex objects with relative ease. By melting and extruding plastic filament, FDM printers can build objects layer by layer, resulting in highly accurate and detailed models. Whether you're an artist, designer, or engineer, FDM 3D printing offers endless possibilities for creating unique and innovative objects.

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