If you don’t already know by now, our ZEUS makes use of a style of additive manufacturing called FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) or FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication). FDM-printing is touted for its ability to produce durable prototypes, rapidly and more safely than other forms of 3D printing (such as stereo-lithography or SLA). FDM printing produces parts that are stable and can actually be used for form and testing. With FDM printing, functional parts can be made with high accuracy – all dependent upon the resolution that you choose. Furthermore, multicolor prints (in the form of vertical coloring) is possible with FDM printing and the material(below) is much cheaper to buy than that of SLA printing.
How does it work?
In FDM printing, objects are built layer by layer from the ground up using directions that are determined through a program called a “slicer”. The slicer creates a “g-code” file that your printer can read, as a sort of map of where the physical extrusion will take place on your print bed. A thermoplastic (we use PLA) is heated and extruded onto the build plate according to the g-code file to create your object.
FDM is popular because it is quick and reliable. It is very simple to use and can even be operated in an office, school, or home setting. In schools, FDM is becoming increasingly popular for students, even at the elementary school level, to learn product development and design. ZEUS has been a great success in schools all over the world as students everywhere are adopting FDM technology to make their educational experience overall more fulfilling and useful for their future careers.