Fused Filament Fabrication is a manufacturing process which involves a thermoplastic in filament form being used to form a 3D object. This plastic is melted and extruded in 2D toolpaths layer-by-layer to build up the desired object.
FFF is the generic term for this technology, but it may also be known as FDM, or Fused Deposition Modeling.
Why would I use this process to create a 3D part?
In general, FFF printing is the most economical iteration of all 3D printing applications. First developed in 1988, it is the original technique from which the rapid prototyping and manufacturing industry grew from. It is a great option for aesthetic prints since FFF can support most of the geometries you throw at it.
- Large selection of materials, including many common thermoplastics
- Least expensive printer technology
- Least expensive materials
- Easy to switch materials
- Possible to print using multiple different materials
- Fast printing with minimal post processing
- Parts can be post-processed
- Parts have good mechanical properties and are durable over time.
- Can build fully functional parts in standard plastics.
- Low fidelity
- Anisotropic models
- Step structure on surfaces
- Detail limited to nozzle size (usually 0.4 mm)