Stratasys founder Scott Crump invented Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Technology more than 20 years ago.  3D printers that run on FDM Technology build parts layer-by-layer from the bottom up by heating and extruding thermoplastic filament.  FDM technology uses the same tried and tested thermoplastics as traditional manufacturing processes.

Although 3D drawings have come a long way it would be better to have a live part to evaluate.  Ideas can be tested with a live part by sending the concept modeling in a Standard Tessellation Language (STL) file from the design software and PFI will print it in any of the company’s FDM materials.

Aamir Muhammad, the CEO of CoinMoneyWealth, LLC, stated the following about PFI:

“Thanks to the team at PFI for taking the time to examine our prototype wood box container’s potential for 3D printing. Even though our objectives were not feasible using plastic 3D printing for the box we submitted; thus no financial benefit to PFI, PFI took the time and showed extraordinary customer service by further researching other potential sources and manufacturing possibilities on our behalf, and provided them free of charge. My company will be creating other products in the near future that will meet the requirements for plastic 3D printing. PFI will be the first call I make!”

Ideas can be perfected before presenting them to management.  3D printed concept models are also valuable communication tools, conveying ideas to colleagues, clients and marketers in a way that a computer model never could.

The Process

  • FDM Technology build parts layer-by-layer by heating thermoplastic material to a semi-liquid state and extruding it according to computer-controlled paths.
  • FDM uses two materials to execute a print job:
  • Modeling material, which constitutes the finished piece
  • Support material, which acts as scaffoldingWith and without Support
  • Material filaments are fed from the 3D printer’s material bays to the print head, which moves in X and Y coordinates, depositing material to complete each layer before the base moves down the Z axis and the next layer begins.
  • Once building is complete, the user breaks the support material away or dissolves it in detergent and water, and the part is ready to use.
  • Thermoplastic parts can endure exposure to heat, chemicals, humid or dry environments, and mechanical stress.
  • Soluble support materials make it possible to produce complex geometries and cavities that would be difficult to build with traditional manufacturing methods.

Print Resolution:

Material Layer Thickness Color(s)
ABS-M30 0.005” (127 micron), 0.007” (177.8 micron), 0.010” (254 micron), 0.013” (330.2 micron) Ivory, White, Black, Dk. Grey, Red, Blue
FDM®Nylon12 0.007” (177.8 micron), 0.010” (254 micron), 0.013” (330.2 micron) Black
Ultem9085 0.010” (254 micron) Tan, Black