Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)

Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), otherwise known as FDM, is a thermoplastic filament that’s melted through a heated nozzle and selectively extruded, building layer upon layer.

An industry standard, fused filament fabrication is a process that provides engineers and designers numerous material options with the open-source machine platform. Durable, rigid, single-color parts with moderate detail are suitable for check fixtures, specialized tools, functional prototypes, and end-use parts.

Fused Filament Fabrication Diagram

Table of Contents

How does Fused Filament Fabrication work?

We take your CAD file and input it into the machine, and the software breaks it down layer by layer. We also take into consideration the direction of the build and the placement of the supports. The Fused Filament Fabrication machine uses a heated nozzle to extrude a filament onto a heated build platform. As the part is drawn, the nozzle moves up. This process is continual with no breaks in-between layers.

Once finished, the parts are manually removed from the platform, the supports are removed from the parts, and they’re ready to go to the finishing department.

What are the ideal applications for fused filament fabrication?

• Form, fit, and function testing for prototypes
• Low-volume production for complex end-use parts

Fused Filament Fabrication Midwest Prototyping

OEM:

Stratasys, Essentium (High Speed Extrusion)

Max Build Area:

29 in. x 20 in. x 25.5 in.

Lead Time:

1 – 5 Days

Material:

ABS-ESD7, ABS-M30, ABS-M30i, ASA, PA-CF, PC-ABS, PC-ISO, PCTG, PCTG-Z, Polycarbonate (PC), Ultem 9085, Ultem 1010, other materials may be available upon request.

*Most common materials are listed in bold.

Tolerances:

+/- .005 in. for the first inch and +/- .002 in. for each additional inch

Layer Thickness:

The standard layer thickness is .010 in.  we can do .005, .007, and.013 in. layers as well.

Do you have a question about your design or materials that would fit your project? Email one of our Solutions Managers.

Fused FIlament Fabrication part capabilities

Which Fused Filament Fabrication Materials does Midwest Prototyping Offer?

Material

Description

Key Characteristics

More Information

ABS-ESD7 is an ABS thermoplastic with static dissipative properties that are excellent for applications where a static charge can damage products, debilitate their performance or cause an explosion.

  • Biocompatible
  • Impact Resistant
  • Multi-color
  • Static Dissipative
  • UV Stability

ABS-M30 has significantly stronger layer bonding than ABS and higher tensile, impact and flexural strength, ABS-M30 parts are more durable, smoother, and have greater detail.

  • Biocompatible
  • Impact Resistant
  • Multi-color
  • Rigid
  • UV Stability

ABS-M30i is a biocompatible material that can be gamma or EtO sterilized and complies with ISO 10993 and USP Class VI.

  • White
  • Biocompatible

ASA

ASA is a thermoplastic that builds high-quality parts with excellent UV stability.

  • Multi-Color
  • High Strength
  • UV Stability

PA – CF is a carbon fiber-infused polyamide filament with exceptional strength, durability, and thermal stability.

  • Black
  • High Strength
  • Impact Resistant
  • Heat Resistant

PC-ABS combines the flexibility of ABS with the strength and heat resistance of PC.

  • Black or White
  • High Strength
  • Impact Resistant
  • Flexible
  • Heat Resistant

PC-ISO is a thermoplastic that is strong, heat resistant, as well as biocompatible (gamma and EtO sterilizable and complies with ISO 10993 and USP Class VI standards). 

  • White
  • Biocompatible
  • Heat Resistant
  • High Strength

PCTG is a member of the copolyester family and produces parts with incredible surface finish and impact resistance.

  • White or Black
  • Chemical Resistant
  • Impact Resistant

PCTG – Z is part of a line of industrial – grade filaments that are ESD safe.

  • Black
  • High Strength
  • Impact Resistant

Polycarbonate (PC) is a highly accurate, durable, and stable material, creating strong thermoplastic parts. 

  • Biocompatible
  • Heat Resistant
  • High Strength
  • Impact Resistant
  • Rigid
  • UV Stability

Ultem 9085 resin is a flame-retardant, high-performance thermoplastic featuring a high strength-to-weight ratio, excellent heat resistance, and high impact strength.

  • Chemical Resistant
  • Flame Retardant
  • Heat Resistant 
  • High Strength
  • Impact Resistant 
  • Rigid
  • UV Stability

Ultem 1010 resin possesses high heat resistant and thermal stability, it is one of the strongest thermoplastics. It is biocompatible and approved for food contact (NSF 51 and ISO 10993/USP Class VI certifications. 

  • Biocompatible
  • High Strength
  • Heat Resistant
  • Chemical Resistant

Other materials may be available upon request.

Compare Materials

Best Practices for Designing Pats For Fused Filament Fabrication at Midwest Prototyping.

Feature

Measurement 

Supported Walls

.03 in

Unsupported Walls

.03 in

Supports & Overhangs

45 degrees

Embossing & Engraving

Width: .024 in, Height/Depth: .079 in

Horizontal Spans

.4 in

Holes & Openings

.04 in

Connecting & Moving Parts

.008 in

Escape Holes

.04 in

Minimum Features

.08 in

Pin Diameter

.04 in

What are the Fused Filament Fabrication Finishing Levels at Midwest Prototyping?

Level

Process

Description

1

Supports removed

Standard finish: parts will have prominent layer lines.

2

Supports removed and part sealed

Sealed finish: parts have prominent layer lines.

2 +

Supports removed and cosmetic surfaces sanded to 180 grit

Functional finish: removes some layer lines. Parts have a light texture from sanding.

Supports removed and part smoothed using PostPro3D

Automated finish: PostPro3D equipment is used to perform physiochemical smoothing. Smoothed parts have an airtight, injection-molded like finish.

3

Supports removed and cosmetic surfaces sanded to 320 grit

Near show quality finish: removes layer lines. Parts may have very fine scratches from sanding. Parts are prime and paint ready.

Are you ready to get your ideas made?

Our RFQ Team is standing by to give you a quote, and parts can be done in days, or contact one of our Solutions Managers for answers to a question! 

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