FDM technology builds objects by selectively depositing the melted materials layer by layer in a pre-determined path to a pre-determined dimension.
3D printing is another tool in the toolbox of build-to-print companies like KLINGER IGI. FDM is the most widely known and used technology for additive manufacturing services. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) – also known as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) – is an extrusion-like process for additive manufacturing that utilizes materials like thermoplastic polymer filaments. Using specialized industrial 3D machinery, prototypes and manufacturing fixtures and jigs can be rapidly created. However, like all advanced manufacturing processes, 3D printing has its advantages and limitations.
Build up or cut to size? That IS the question.
Subtractive manufacturing creates a final product by removing material from a block or sheet of material. For example, a conventional machining process like a router will use a specialty high speed bit to remove material from a block of Teflon to create a 3D washer for a special application.
Alternatively, additive manufacturing – also known as 3D printing – adds material to form its final product. This can produce complex geometries without the pain, time and cost of multi-step fabrication methods. However, additive processes like FDM can exhibit undesirable characteristics such as warping, layer adhesion differential, layer lines and other outside surface quality deficiencies – all of which create part-to-part variation. While those shortcomings may be acceptable in prototypes and wide tolerance parts, they are not desirable in precision parts fabrication and volume production. Mass production demands fabrication capabilities that produce exact geometries, improved structures, consistent surface finishes, and adherence to tight tolerances.
For that reason, KLINGER IGI limits its additive manufacturing services to supporting prototype and small serial production requirements. In addition, our 3D printing services are used to create precision fixtures and jigs that improve our production processes. Since we’re using what we’re promoting, we hope you’ll trust our advice as to when 3D printing will or will not provide the value you seek in a prototype or production part.