Possibilities of FDM 3D Printing

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The FDM 3D printing technique is still fairly new and is often underestimated. In this article we show what is possible with this production technique.

From industrial housings to decorative objects, everything is possible. At Formalize we offer multiple materials, each being suitable for various applications. Next to material selection we also offer multiple quality finishes, colors and production speeds.

To guarantee the best quality 3D printed products, Formalize has issued design guidelines per material. This mainly concerns wall thickness, wire thickness and other product properties. Formalize has also published material pages where the various plastics are briefly described, as well as frequently asked question.

Materials

Formalize has made a selection of three materials, each material suitable for a different purpose. PLA, PETG and TPU are the materials we offer. From plastic with 25% wood to rubbery flexible plastic. To give a clearer picture of the properties of these materials, we have briefly summarized them below.

PLA is an organic plastic, it is extracted from corn starch or sugar cane. PLA is known for food packaging, disposable cutlery, tea bags and more. We advise not to use PLA for mechanical parts because this is a brittle material. PLA is also biodegradable and therefore less wear resistant than PETG. PLA does not have good resistance to UV and moisture. After long use it breaks down slowly and the material becomes weaker. The material deforms at approximately 60°C. So PLA is not suitable for products that must have a high temperature resistance.

If you are looking for a suitable material to create decorative products, PLA is the right material. Because it solidifies faster than PETG, details emerge better.

FDM PLA 3D printing shapes
FDM PLA 3D printing car
FDM PLA 3D printing coins

PETG is a modified version of the PET material, known from the PET bottles. PETG contains glycol, which is added to make the material more durable and to make it applicable for 3D printing. The material does not become brittle after long use and this plastic is heat-resistant up to 80°C.

The properties of PETG are very favorable when it comes to absorbing and processing power. It can also withstand various chemicals, and it is very durable. PETG has a good resistance to UV and moisture, which is why the material is suitable for outdoor use.

FDM PETG 3D printing assembly
FDM PETG 3D printing batch production
FDM PETG 3D printing smooth part

TPU deforms at about 80°C, beyond this temperature the material becomes softer. TPU, like PETG, is durable and also resistant to many chemicals. It also has good impact resistance and is electrically insulating. This material can also be used outdoors, it has a good resistance to UV and moisture. TPU is known for cable jackets, garden hoses, phone cases, and so on. The properties of PETG are very favorable when it comes to absorbing and processing power.

FDM TPU 3D printing green tube
FDM TPU 3D printing tesla
FDM TPU 3D printing smooth bracket

Injection Molding

3D printing can be used for batch production. This is often applied when the cost per product is cheaper than with injection molding. For injection molding you require a mold which can be very expensive. With 3D printing you don't need a mold and can start production right away. As a result, the start-up costs of production with injection molding are much higher than with 3D printing.

The FDM 3D printing technique is ideal for a one-time order or prototype as well. Within a few minutes we can start producing a tangible product from a 3D model. Formalize has made the ordering process as user-friendly as possible. The 3D model can be uploaded on with our online configurator. You can select your material, quality and color. As soon as the 3D model is loaded, a price calculation is made, including bulk discount. The price of the 3D printed product depends on the selected options.

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