PFI can produce Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Thermoplastic parts that will fit into a building envelope of up to 16” x 14” x 16” with an accuracy of up to 0.005” out of three materials; ABS-M30, FDM® Nylon 12 and ULTEM™ 9085 material. Other materials available on special request include ABS-ESD7, ABSi, ABS-M30i, PC, PC-ABS, PC-ISO and PPSF
Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a number of processes for making a three-dimensional object of almost any shape from a 3-D model or other electronic data source primarily through the additive (rather than subtractive) process in which successive layers of material are laid down under computer control.
Early AM equipment and materials were developed in 1984, by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corporation. He invented a process known as stereolithography employing UV lasers to cure photopolymers. Hull also developed the STL file format widely accepted by 3D printing software, as well as the digital slicing and infill strategies common to many processes today.
Also during the 1980s, the metal sintering forms of AM were being developed, such as selective laser sintering and direct metal laser sintering, although they were not yet called 3D printing or AM at the time. In 1990, the plastic extrusion technology most widely associated with the term “3D printing” was commercialized by Stratasys under the name Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).
Additive Manufacturing technologies found applications starting in the 1980s in rapid prototyping, product development, and specialized manufacturing. The expansion into production – job production, mass production and distributed manufacturing – has been under development in the decades since. Industrial production roles within the metalworking industries achieved significant scale for the first time in the early 2010’s. Since the start of the 21st century there has been a large growth in the sales of AM machines, and their price has dropped substantially.
The applications are many, including architecture, construction (AEC), industrial design, production of jigs and fixtures, industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military, engineering, dental and medical industries, biotech (human tissue replacement), fashion, footwear, jewelry, eyewear, education, geographic information systems, food, and many other fields.
Fusion Deposition Modeling (FDM):
Fused deposition modeling (FDM) was developed by S. Scott Crump in the late 1980s and was commercialized in 1990 by Stratasys.In fused deposition modeling, the model or part is produced by extruding small beads of material, which harden immediately to form layers. A thermoplastic filament or metal wire that is wound on a coil is unreeled to supply material to an extrusion nozzle head. The nozzle head heats the material and turns the flow on and off. Typically stepper motors orservomotors are employed to move the extrusion head and adjust the flow and the head can be moved in both horizontal and vertical directions. Control of this mechanism is typically done by a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software package running on a microcontroller.
How FDM works:
- Pre-processing: Build-preparation software slices and positions a 3D CAD file and calculates a path to extrude thermoplastic and any necessary support material.
- 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.
- Post-processing: The user breaks away support material away or dissolves it in detergent and water, and the part is ready to use.