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The Benefits of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

    Diagram of the FDM Process

Building a part from the bottom up, layer by layer, allows AM to create complex geometries unattainable with traditional subtractive manufacturing and cast/mold techniques.  AM allows for the optimization of systems because “manufacturability” is not as strict as with traditional methods.

FDM of ABS allows for:

  • Strong parts (Tensile strength of ABS is 5,000 psi)
  • FDM ABS is machineable, sandable and paintable
  • Can be treated with resins to strengthen the plastic and increase heat resistance
  • Relatively cheap compared to other AM processes (~$250.00 per 56 in3 of material)

Our Systems

Stratasys Dimension SST 768

The Stratasys Dimension SST system is located in the Mechanical Engineering Department's CAD Lab in Randolph 114.  A fused deposition modeling technology, the system creates artifacts by selectively extruding a plastic filament. The Dimension SST works with an ABS polymer and a water-soluble support material.

In addition to the Dimension SST printer, the DREAMS Lab contains the technology’s supporting equipment including a water bath that is used to assist with the removal of the support material.

Stratasys FDM 1500 & 1600

The Stratasys FDM 1600 system, a fused deposition modeling technology, creates artifacts by extruding a plastic filament.

    Nick Meisel with the Stratasys FDM 1500/1600

The FDM 1600 works with a ABS polymer and a separate support material that is manually removed after the build is complete.

Applications of the Stratasys 1600

FDM is relatively slow and cannot compete with full-scale production requirements.  However, it is a useful tool for certain situations such as:

  •     Parts printed on the FDM 1500/1600
  • Low volume production
  • Optimization of complex components
  • Custom molds
  • Unique internal geometries

Stratasys Dimension uPrint

The Dimension uPrint is the smallest of the Stratasys Dimension product line. It is available to students through Virginia Tech's Engineering Education Department and is located in the Frith Lab in the basement of Randolph Hall.

Fortus 250mc

The Fortus 250mc is an industrial FDM system with a larger build area, more material options, a higher resolution. It is available to students through Virginia Tech's Mechanical Engineering Department and is located in the Machine Shop in the basement of Randolph Hall.

Want to Learn More?

Visit the Stratasys, Dimension, and Fortus websites to find out more!