Drew's Sand Box

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Things Drew likes to do...

In the work/life balance, Drew tends toward 'life'


[[File:drewsrv.jpg|450px|thumb|left|On the road

Fused Deposition Modelling

Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), also referred to as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), is the 3D printing process by which a material is extruded through a nozzle onto a build surface. The material is extruded above its own glass transition temperature in a viscous state, fusing to the material below it, and cooling down to form a desired object. This 3D printing method closely mimics the process of icing a cupcake; the icing is extruded through a tube onto the cupcake and can stand up on its own once extruded.

Most FDM printers function by controlling the movements of 4 motors: 3 motors handle the 3-dimensional XYZ motion, while the fourth motor handles the extrusion of a material. A common FDM process involves the extrusion of polylactic acid (PLA), a spool of biodegradable thermoplastic. This plastic is solid at room temperature but becomes viscous above temperatures of 150ºC. PLA is often extruded at above 200ºC to ensure a smooth flow.

The tool head, which in this case is a plastic extruder, draws a path in the X-Y direction to form each layer of the object. The printer then moves the tool head up (or moves the entire build area downwards) and begins the next layer on top of the previous layer (much in the way lasagna is just layers of cheese and noodles stacked on top of each other).

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