Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

At a Glance

Lifecycle

Lead Time

Materials

Resolution

Early stage prototyping
24 hours
0.05-0.2 mm

About the Process

Fused deposition modeling (FDM) is a 3D printing technology (also known as additive manufacturing) commonly used for modeling, prototyping, and production applications. Each layer is created by extruding material from a nozzle to produce 3D objects. At Shapefy, all FDM prints are produced according to the resolution chosen by the customer keeping a balance of accuracy and strength with speed.

FDM processes require support material, either breakaway or soluble, so it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing this process as it can affect the final part.

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Materials

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PLA

High stiffness, good detail, affordable. PLA is a
biodegradable thermoplastic for low-cost, non-functional
prototyping. Greater detail than ABS, but more brittle. .
Unsuitable for high temperatures.

Material

PLA

Lead Time

24-48 hours

Resolution

0.05-0.2mm

Pricing

Max Temp

60C
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ABS

Commodity plastic, improved mechanical and thermal
properties compared to PLA. ABS is a common
thermoplastic with good mechanical properties and
excellent impact strength, superior to PLA but with less
defined details.

Material

ABS

Lead Time

24-48 hours

Resolution

0.1-0.2mm

Pricing

Max Temp

110C
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PETG

PETG is a thermoplastic with improved properties
over PLA, with high impact resistance and excellent
chemical and moisture resistance.
PETG can be sterilized.

Material

PETG

Lead Time

24-48 hours

Resolution

0.1-0.2mm

Pricing

Max Temp

85C
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PolyCarbonate

A really strong material good for mechanical parts
with high impact resistance, flexibility and
temperature resistance.

Material

PolyCarbonate

Lead Time

24-48 hours

Resolution

0.1-0.2mm

Pricing

Max Temp

110C
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Nylon (PA12)

Used to substitute functional injection moulded parts,
good chemical resistance. Great for gears and sliders,
general-purpose, wear & heat-resistance applications

Material

PA12

Lead Time

24-48 hours

Resolution

0.1-0.2mm

Pricing

Max Temp

90C
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TPU

Rubber-like material, suitable for tubes, grips, tires,
seals and gaskets. It is a bendable yet strong and durable
plastic that draws comparisons to rubber.

Material

TPU Rubber

Lead Time

24-48 hours

Resolution

0.1-0.2mm

Pricing

Max Temp

100C
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ASA

UV stability and high chemical resistance, preferred
material for outdoor applications. ASA is a thermoplastic
with properties similar to ABS but with improved thermal,
chemical and weather resistance. Perfect for
outdoor applications.

Material

ASA

Lead Time

24-48 hours

Resolution

0.1-0.2mm

Pricing

Max Temp

100C
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PEI

Engineering plastic, high performance applications,
flame retardant. PEI is an engineering thermoplastic
with good mechanical properties and exceptional heat,
chemical and flame resistance. Suitable for top-end
applications.

Material

PEI

Lead Time

3-4 days

Resolution

0.1-0.2mm

Pricing

Max Temp

217C
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PEEK

PEEK is one of the highest-performance polymers in world.
It has exceptional mechanical, thermal, and chemical
resistance properties making it a go-to material in
some of the most demanding applications.

Material

PEEK

Lead Time

3-4 days

Resolution

0.1-0.2mm

Pricing

Continuous Use Temp

260C
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ABS Carbon Fiber

Carbon Fiber ABS is a high-performance carbon fiber
reinforced ABS filament ideal for anyone that desires
a structuralal component with high modulus, excellent
surface quality and dimensional stability
Made using 15% High-Modulus Carbon Fiber.

Material

ABS Carbon Fiber

Lead Time

2-3 days

Resolution

0.1-0.2mm

Pricing

Max Temp

110C
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PLA Carbon Fiber

Carbon Fiber PLA is an improved CF reinforced 3D printing
filament vs. the competition. Made using High-Modulus
Carbon Fiber (not carbon powder or milled carbon fiber).
This filament is ideal for anyone that desires a structural
component with high modulus, excellent surface quality,
dimensional stability, light weight, and ease of printing.

Material

PLA Carbon Fiber

Lead Time

24-48 hours

Resolution

0.05-0.2mm

Pricing

Max Temp

60C
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PETG Carbon Fiber

Carbon Fiber PETG is an improved CF reinforced 3D printing
filament vs. the competition. Made using High-Modulus
Carbon Fiber (not carbon powder or milled carbon fiber).
This filament is ideal for anyone that desires a structural
component with high modulus, excellent surface quality,
dimensional stability, light weight, and ease of printing.

Superior Chemical Resistance vs. ABS
Amorphous: Low and near isotropic shrinkage
Low moisture absorption: 3X lower vs. ABS.

Material

PETG Carbon Fiber

Lead Time

24-48 hours

Resolution

0.1-0.2mm

Pricing

Max Temp

85C
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PCL

PCL is safe & biodegradable plastic with a very low
melting temperature (58-60C) compared to usual
3D printing materials such as PLA, ABS etc.

Objects can be re-shaped after printing to fit specific
application by simply softening it in warm 60°C water
(Example: re-shaping a rivet to fit through a hole).
Once cooled, PCL is a very tough and impact resistant
plastic.

Material

PCL

Lead Time

24-48 hours

Resolution

0.1-0.2mm

Pricing

Max Temp

60C

Design Recommendations

Max Part Size

Min Feature Size

Tolerance

Min Wall Thickness

Min Hole Diameter

Min Gaps for Mating Parts

914 x 610 x 914 mm
0.8 mm
+/- 0.4 mm or +/- 0.2% per cm
1.2 mm
1 mm
0.1 mm minimum; 0.2 mm to ensure fit

+ Design for Manufacturing Tips

- No internal cavities
- Limit curved surfaces
- Orientation on small holes is very important (xy plane is much more cylindrical)
- Bridging: distances of up to 10 mm do not necessarily need support material, as long as the area being printed has support on both sides of the material being laid down.

Cost Saving Tips

1. Cut large models into multiple smaller parts, to fit on a smaller, less expensive machines.
2. Reduce the amount of support material required by overhangs and special orientations.
3. Choose PLA for simple geometry parts and where tolerance is less important.