FDM 3D Printing Technology Overview

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) systems and related technologies are the most accessible and widely used form of 3D printing. FDM machines build parts layer-by-layer from the bottom up by heating and extruding thermoplastic filament. The production-grade thermoplastic material used is suitable for detailed functional prototypes, durable manufacturing tools & low-volume manufacturing parts.

Different industries require different solutions to maximize the efficiency of their objective. FDM 3D printing technology builds durable and functional prototypes that can withstand rigorous testing.



FDM 3D Printing Technology

How FDM 3D Printing Technology Works

FDM 3D printing technology works by extruding heated thermoplastic material layer-by-layer onto a build tray.

  1. Pre-Processing: Build-preparation software slices and positions a 3D CAD file and calculates a path to extrude thermoplastic and any necessary support material.
  2. Production: The 3D printer heats the thermoplastic to a semi-liquid state and deposits it in ultra-fine beads along the extrusion path. Where support or buffering is needed, the 3D printer deposits a removable material that acts as scaffolding.
  3. Post-processing: The user breaks away support material or dissolves it in detergent and water- then the part is ready to use.

Benefits of FDM 3D Printing

FDM technology uses thermoplastics found in traditional manufacturing processes and are ideal for applications that demand tight tolerances, toughness, and environmental stability.

  • Technology is well-developed, clean, simple-to-use, and office-friendly
  • Supported production-grade thermoplastics are mechanically and environmentally stable
  • Complex geometries and cavities that would otherwise be problematic become practical with FDM technology

FDM 3D Printing Materials

With FDM 3D printed thermoplastic filament, you can achieve specialized properties like toughness, electrostatic dissipation, translucency, bio-compatibility, UV resistance & high heat deflection. This allows FDM technology to be suitable for a range of applications from classroom projects to lightweight duct work on commercial aircraft.

FDM Technical Specifications

Maximum Accuracy
Maximum Accuracy
Layer Resolution
Layer Resolution
0.007 in - 0.020 in
Minimum Wall Thickness
Minimum Wall Thickness
Maximum Part Dimensions (Single Build)
Maximum Part Dimensions (Single Build)
914 x 610 x 914 mm
(36 x 24 x 36 in)
Advanced finishing options available like smoothing, painting and sanding.

FDM 3D Printers

Stratasys Idea Series 3D Printers

Idea Series

Develop your ideas with affordable models and prototypes. Idea Series 3D Printers fit your desktop and your budget.

Stratasys F Series 3D Printer

Design Series

Perfect your designs with strong, durable and dimensionally-stable parts that withstand tough testing.

Stratasys Production 3D Printers

Production Series

Bring agility and aesthetics to every stage of product development with the widest range of colors and material properties for prototypes and tooling.