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Fuse Deposition Modeling (FDM)

FDM for Modeling, Prototyping, and Production Parts

Fuse Deposition Modeling (FDM) is an additive manufacturing technique, also known as direct digital manufacturing (DDM) or 3D printing, builds parts by depositing production-grade thermoplastic material layer by layer. A plastic filament or metal wire is unwound from a coil and supplies material to an extrusion nozzle, which can turn the flow on and off. The nozzle is heated to melt the material and is moved horizontally under the direction of a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software package. Thermoplastic material is extruded to form layers and the material hardens immediately after extrusion.

FDM is well suited for modeling, prototyping, and production applications, especially for creating strong, highly durable components. Parts made using the FDM prototyping method offer excellent thermal and mechanical properties and are available in a range of colors. Our Fortus 400mc 3D Production System with the larger extended platform allows creating components up to 14x16x16 inches in size. FDM part accuracy is ±0.010-in. for the first inch and 0.003-in. per inch thereafter.

How Can FDM Save You Money?

Parts made from our new FDM system eliminate the need to create tooling, which allows rendering new concepts more quickly and at a lower cost.

Chart of FDM Materials including mechanical properties and thermal properties

FDM Materials

We can produce parts and prototypes in your choice of three different FDM materials: ABS-M30 (ideal when high strength is required), polycarbonate (for high accuracy, durability and stability), and ULTEM 9085 (for high strength and flame-retardancy). Polycarbonate and PC-ISO are ideal for medical applications.

Our in-house custom finishing and painting facilities and Pantone® color matching system simplify creating the color and surface texture you want to reproduce the look and feel of production parts quickly.


  • Design review
  • Fit & function tests
  • Show models
  • Low volume production
  • Snap features
  • Urethane & casting masters

Choose The Best Rapid Prototyping Option For Your Next Project.

FDM Prototyping ExampleFDM Prototype Example 2