Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is an additive manufacturing technology that builds parts up layer-by-layer by heating and extruding thermoplastic filament. Ideal for building durable components with complex geometries in nearly any shape and size, FDM is the only 3D printing process that uses materials like ABS, PC-ISO polycarbonate, and ULTEM 9085. This means FDM can create parts with outstanding thermal and chemical resistance, and excellent strength-to-weight ratios. With our fast lead times and finishing options, FDM is a smart choice for anything from concept models to production parts.


Fused Deposition Modeling
FDM machine



You don’t need to design for manufacturability when you can manufacture nearly any design. Using 3D printing technology, engineers can build complex features, undercuts, and internal features with ease — turning previously problematic design details into practical options. However with FDM sourcing materials won’t be an obstacle for innovation – you can build complex parts with the same tried and tested thermoplastics found in conventional manufacturing.


FDM offers a wide range of durable thermoplastics with unique characteristics making it ideal for many industries. For instance, the medical industry frequently uses FDM materials that are biocompatible and MRI transparent. Our customers in the industrial, heavy machinery, and transportation industries utilize PC-ABS for its superior strength and heat resistance. ULTEM 9085 is often favored for aerospace applications because it is flame, smoke, and toxicity-certified to UL-94V0 and FAA 25.853 standards.


Being a division of Stratasys, the inventor of FDM technology, we’re backed by Stratasys’ strong commitment to R&D and our engineers have access to an even broader team of FDM experts to tap for new value-add applications. Learn more about Stratasys FDM Technology


Producing parts for production applications without tooling saves time and money. FDM has proven to be an affordable means to build durable, stable production parts in low quantities. It is also effective for high volumes of components when the designs are too complex for traditional manufacturing to execute.


FDM parts are unrivaled in mechanical, thermal and chemical strength making it an ideal technology for challenging plastic applications.


Common applications include:

  • Manufacturing aids
  • Jigs and fixtures
  • Carbon fiber layup tooling
  • Functional prototypes
  • Low volume production parts

ID-Light FDM

Build extremely light, large-scale parts in record time with Stratasys Direct Manufacturing’s exclusive ID-Light process. Ideal for concept modeling, prototyping, and creating master patterns, ID-Light is available in both SL and FDM technologies. ID-Light FDM is best for strength, while ID-Light SL is best for cosmetic applications. Learn more about ID-Light

FDM Applications



Build parts in the same strong, stable plastics you’re familiar using in injection molding. FDM allows you to use real engineering-grade thermoplastics that are ready for harsh environments, tough testing, and demanding applications.


FDM: Frequently Asked Questions


Are FDM parts as strong as components built using traditional manufacturing methods?

Yes, but the orientation of a printed part on the build platform has an effect on its strength. Parts are considerably stronger along the X- and Y-axis of the build than the Z-axis. See the FDM design guidelines for more details.

What level of detail can be obtained with FDM?

Laser Sintering can produce a layer thickness of 0.004”- 0.006” and an X/Y resolution of 0.030” – 0.050”. We recommend all LS parts have a minimum wall thickness of 0.040”. See the LS design guidelines for more details.

What is the largest part size you can make with LS?

FDM is available in several resolutions. At its highest resolution, the layer thickness is 0.007” and the X/Y resolution is 0.028”.

Can inserts be staked or added during an FDM build?

Washers, nuts, bolts, threaded rods, or other objects can be inserted mid-build by technicians without secondary operations.
FDM Design Guidelines
For detailed engineering specifications and considerations, including the advantages and disadvantages of using FDM for a variety of applications, read the FDM Design Guidelines.
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