06 June 2019 12:54
Advancements in extrusion-based 3D printing are changing the trajectory of Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) technology.   FFF, or FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) as it’s more commonly referred to, is one of the most commonly used 3D printing technologies. With adoption increasing across all industrial segments, FDM was the most revenue-generating 3D printing technology in 2017, and is said to have the largest installed base (SmarTech).   So what has spurred the growth and maturity of the technology? And how will extrusion-based polymer 3D printing evolve in the future?   To answer these questions, this ...
12 February 2019 11:54
Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), or Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) as it’s more commonly known, remains one of the most popular 3D printing technologies. And as the technology continues to evolve, FDM is finding more industrial applications on the manufacturing floor. The development of new polymer materials is a key factor behind this development.   In today’s tutorial, we’ll be looking at three popular thermoplastic materials available for FDM 3D printing: ASA, PETG and PC. We'll explore their benefits, limitations, as well as tips for successful printing.   Take a look at other guides ...
30 November 2017 17:34
Commercial 3D printing has not quite taken off at the rate one would have expected a few years ago. One reason for this is speed, with the majority of desktop 3D printers requiring hours to print a part. However, the development of a new desktop FDM 3D printer by a team of engineers at MIT may well have changed the game.   What's new? [caption id="attachment_2193" align="alignright" width="300"] Some of the objects printed on MIT’s new printer – Image: Chelsea Turner[/caption] While FDM technology is the most popular commercial 3D  printing system, it is ...
07 August 2017 16:29
For any filament-based 3D printing technique, proper maintenance of your machines’ extruders should be a regular part of your internal processes. This becomes even more essential if you are utilising different filaments with the same printer. If even small quantities of a different material are still present in the extruder during the next print run, it will affect the finished result, resulting in lost time and wasted material. If you are in any doubt about whether a clogged extruder is affecting the quality of your printed parts, look closely at it ...
27 July 2017 12:56
One of the most effective applications of 3D printing in the industrial world has been injection moulding, where the use of printed moulds has helped reduce materials cost, streamline workflows, and maintain consistent quality. However, it’s not the only manufacturing technology where 3D printing offers opportunities for new improvements and enhancements. As part of an ongoing drive to streamline and improve their production processes, forward-thinking foundries are combining 3D printing with sand casting.   What is sand casting? Sand casting is the process of casting molten metal using sand-based moulds. To begin with, ...
30 June 2017 12:48
One of the most intriguing developments in additive manufacturing in recent years has been in the pharmaceuticals sector: the use of 3D printers to generate medication in tablet form. We were honoured to sit down with one of the pioneers of this technology, Dr Alvaro Goyanes, to discuss its inception, the progress it has made, and what we should expect from his ongoing research at FabRx in the years to come.     How did you originally become interested in 3D printing? 3D printing is now widely used to create many different types ...
29 June 2017 9:02
FDM lends itself very well to colour printing, as there are wide range of coloured filaments available to choose from. This means that for single-colour prints, it’s usually just a question of picking a filament in the right colour, with the desired mechanical properties. But what if you want something more sophisticated? Perhaps your design is an attractive display piece, and you’d like to accurately capture the colours of your 3D model in the printed version. Perhaps it’s a functional prototype where you’d like to colour-code the individual components for demonstration ...
23 June 2017 16:04
The good news is that FDM is an inherently clean technology, which means the cleaning stage will not typically be as involved as with SLS prints. However, while it does not leave the same volume of waste material as SLS -- especially if you are using dissolvable support structures -- it is still important to factor the cleaning of your part into your post-processing stage. This is especially important if you are planning on painting or finishing your part, as it’s vital that you begin with a clean surface to ...
21 June 2017 8:30
3Dprint.com recently reported on current research at Texas A&M University, Essentium Materials and Texas Tech into strengthening plastic parts printed with FDM technology. This involves printing with special CNT-coated filaments, then welding the resulting parts using precisely applied microwave irradiation. The result is stronger parts that are suitable for a range of industrial applications -- effectively mitigating one of the key disadvantages of FDM printing. At the same time, Michigan Technology University is conducting research into a more energy-efficient recycling material waste from plastic 3D printing. The goal is to allow ...
10 May 2017 14:51
Fused deposition modelling remains one of the most popular techniques for 3D printing amongst hobbyists, AM bureaus and industrial manufacturing companies alike. In this tutorial, we’ll take a closer look at the mechanics of the process and share some practical tips for getting the most out of your chosen materials and 3D printers.   What is fused deposition modelling? Fused deposition modelling prints 3D objects by using a heated filament to manually build up layers of material. A thermoplastic material is heated to a semi-liquid state, after which an extrusion head builds the layers ...