By this point in your life, chances are you have probably used a hot glue gun at least once. It is a common household tool used for a variety of projects. Stratasys FDM 3D printers are the same. Like glue guns, FDM technology is a common additive manufacturing tool for a range of applications. In this blog, I highlight the top four industry uses for FDM printers.
The number of companies in the automotive industry using 3D printers is rapidly growing. From car manufacturers like BMW and Ford, to NASCAR teams and racing teams like McLaren, to aftermarket companies—the list is endless. With 3D printing, businesses are able to test design ideas and get parts to market faster than their competition.
With Stratasys FDM printers like the Fortus 900mc, automotive manufacturers can quickly alter designs and launch products to market faster than traditional manufacturing methods. By minimizing build time for larger parts, enhancing efficiency, optimizing workflow and automating production and monitoring, these machines were designed for the automotive world in mind. In addition to the machining capabilities, compatible FDM materials such as Nylon 6, Nylon 12 and ABSi are perfect for testing prototypes, jigs, fixtures and street-ready parts.
Similar to the automotive industry, aircraft and spacecraft manufacturers also have several use cases for FDM technology. The range of engineering-grade and high performance materials are ideal for aerospace applications. Whether printing lightweight composite parts, durable jigs and fixtures or complex production parts, FDM thermoplastics have enough rigor to live up to the demands. Between ULTEM 9085, ULTEM 1010, Nylon 12 and Nylon 6, you can produce flight-worthy parts that won’t drive up the cost.
With budget-friendly FDM system and material options, the education industry is maximizing on the opportunity for affordable, hands-on learning. Even at the elementary level, schools have started to incorporate these printers into S.T.E.M. programs all across the country. High Schools are competing at a whole new level at Skills U.S.A, pairing FDM printed parts with robotics, building bridges and bringing new inventions to life. Universities are producing a new level of engineers, enabling and encouraging researchers to think outside of the box and test multiple iterations.
Commercial Products Industry
If you read our recent blog, Top 3 Industry Uses for PolyJet Printers, you may have noticed that commercial products and consumer goods were also listed as best use cases for PolyJet machines. Depending on the application, FDM can be equally beneficial for these industries.
Material versatility is one of the huge benefits to using FDM. In addition to ABS, newer printers in the Design Series also have the ability to run ASA and PC-ABS, while Production Series printers can print in Nylon, ABS-ESD, PC, ULTEM and other combinations of engineering-grade materials. An excellent example of the use of multiple materials can be seen in Figure 1. This illustrates traditional machined parts compared to an ABS printed mock-up and a final ULTEM part, which is actually utilized as a final end-use part.
For more on FDM technology, read our blog.