Fused-Deposition-Modeling (FDM)

Fused Deposition Modeling* is a manufacturing process which uses a thermoplastic filament form being used to create a 3D object. The plastic filament is melted and extruded in 2D toolpaths, and layer-by-layer these 2D "slices" are built into the desired 3D object.

*Another name for FDM is Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) which is the generic term for this technology.

Why would I use this process to create a 3D part?

FDM printing is one of the cheapest 3D printing technologies, so it's great for rapid prototyping or making fun trinkets.  It is also a great option for aesthetic prints since FDM can handle complex geometries that traditional manufacturing methods cannot.


  • Large selection of materials, including many common thermoplastics
  • Least expensive printer technology and materials
  • Possible to print with multiple materials
  • Minimal post processing
  • Parts are durable over time.
  • Can build fully functional parts in standard plastics.


  • Certain geometries may require supports
  • Anisotropic mechanical properties
  • Ridges/steps on surface texture
  • Detail limited to nozzle size (~ 0.4 mm)