Functional prototyping with 3D printing allows you to create living hinges with FDM material. Plastic flexure bearings appear as living hinges and snap-fit closures in disposable containers, electromechanical systems and consumer products packaging. Minimal friction, compact design and the ability to manufacture them in one piece makes them a popular alternative to mechanical hinges and closures in many applications.
With FDM thermoplastics, living hinges can be produced easily for fast functional testing of hinged containers and housings. With a vertical build orientation and slight modifications to the hinge design, a single bead of thermoplastic can extend the entire length of the hinge. This results in an FDM living hinge that can last through hundreds or even thousands of flex cycles. In addition to hinge durability, the vertical orientation often provides a good surface finish on the rest of the part.