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Using Fused Deposition Modeling to Improve 3D Printing

Using Fused Deposition Modeling to Improve 3D Printing

Using Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) to Improve 3D Printing

Embracing the Future with Advanced FDM Technology

Film Reel Inserts

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is a mature and proven 3D printing technology. FDM is still revolutionizing how industries design and manufacture parts. Its adaptability and efficiency make it an excellent choice for a wide range of applications, from complex consumer goods to tough industrial components.

Material Flexibility

The materials that are compatible with FDM technology are diverse. It includes everything from basic thermoplastics to advanced composites with reinforcement for added strength. This variety enables the development of parts with specific characteristics such as thermal resistance, mechanical robustness, or flexibility. Manufacturers, for example, can print parts that can withstand high-stress environments, such as those found in the aerospace and automotive industries, using high-performance materials.

Print Precision and Quality

FDM is known for its precision, with the ability to fabricate parts with extremely tight tolerances. In particular, the new generation of FDM printers excel at producing parts with excellent surface finish and dimensional accuracy. As a result, FDM is a preferred method for applications where millimeter accuracy is critical, such as the manufacture of medical devices or precision instruments.


FDM isn’t just for prototyping. Because of its ability to create items that perform under pressure, the technology excels in the production of end-use parts. FDM-produced functional components are already in use across a variety of industries, withstanding the stress and strain of daily operation with ease. For example, at Spectra3D, we specialize in the production of functional jigs and fixtures for everyday production use.

Customization and complexity

The FDM process allows for the creation of complex shapes and internal geometries that would be difficult, if not impossible, to produce using traditional manufacturing methods. This level of customization is especially advantageous in markets where tailored solutions are in high demand, such as custom prosthetics and bespoke products.

Casting Pattern ready for dipping

Speed and cost-effectiveness

One of the most beneficial features of FDM is its fast turnaround time. It facilitates rapid prototyping and iterative design by shortening the design-to-production cycle, which can be vital to staying ahead in competitive markets. Furthermore, the cost savings associated with FDM, the result of less material waste and less labor, make it a more cost-effective alternative to traditional manufacturing.

Environmental Implications

Additive manufacturing processes are inherently more sustainable than subtractive manufacturing processes. It only adds material where it is required, reducing waste and supporting modern businesses’ environmentally conscious goals.

FDM stands out in the additive manufacturing landscape for its ability to produce high-quality, functional, and intricately designed parts quickly and sustainably. It is a key technology driving manufacturing evolution, providing a competitive advantage to businesses looking to innovate and excel in the fields they serve.

Discover the possibilities for your next project with Spectra3D’s FDM 3D printing, and embrace the future of manufacturing with confidence. FDM can provide the solutions you need to succeed whether you are in the business of creating commercial products or industrial machinery.

Raw casting after initial cleanup
Spurring Innovation: Autodesk Invests in the Future of 3D Printing

Spurring Innovation: Autodesk Invests in the Future of 3D Printing

Autodesk hopes to bolster the future of 3D printing

The Announcement

Autodesk's 3D printer

Autodesk Spark

In May of this year, Autodesk announced that they were ready to jump into the 3D printing game. In a blog post by Carl Bass, Autodesk President and CEO, Bass explained how his frustration with the state of the 3D printing industry had led him to seek out a better option. The result of this search was twofold: the development of an entirely new open source software platform, Autodesk Spark, and a 3D printer, the Ember, that would be designed to work with the Spark platform. Through these innovations, Autodesk hopes to help shape the future of 3D printing in a more user-friendly direction.

Development for Spark

In an update from Autodesk CTO Jeff Kowalski at the Inside 3D Printing Conference this week, Kowalski spilled a few more details about the software. One of the things that really separates Spark from the competition is its “autocomplete” feature, which allows the software to anticipate the design and complete the shape for the user. The Spark software program will also be able to work with multiple materials and can be used on any available hardware platform. Like the software, Ember, the 3D printer, will be designed through a heavily collaborative process. So far, it is known that the printer will have a resolution of 10 microns and will primarily use photo-cured resin for its material, although it will also print other materials. It is estimated that the printer will go on sale for somewhere around $5,000.

Raising the bar

This week, Autodesk took their role in the 3D marketplace a step further by announcing the creation of the Spark Investment Fund. Over the course of the next three years, Autodesk will be investing as much as $100 million into 3D printing companies. As the first of its kind, this investment fund is a great opportunity for spurring innovation in the industry by financing startups, researchers, and entrepreneurs. The primary goal of the Spark fund is to push the boundaries of 3D technology and move the industry into the next phase.


With increased innovation and investment in the 3D marketplace, it is a great time to embrace this amazing technology. If you would like to learn more about 3D printing and how it can be put to use in your industry, contact us at Spectra 3D Technologies.

Our 3D Printed Office – Network Cables

Our 3D Printed Office – Network Cables

Chords and clutter

wall cluttered with netowrk cables.


At Spectra3D Systems, we have an office problem that we think many of you can relate to – cluttered network cables. For years, we have done what we could to organize them by bundling the chords and shoving them into corners, over doorways, and behind wall hangings. But eventually, we decided that it was time to conquer the clutter.

So we turned to our 3D printer for help. . .

We decided to design a contraption to neatly hold the chords tightly in place as they stretched across the ceiling. The system we devised utilized four different pieces.

The first is a clip that is fitted to snap over the metal part of the ceiling between the tiles.

The second piece includes individual slots for each of the cables to fit inside of. We printed three different sizes so that they would hold either two, four, or six cables at a time.

The third piece then snaps over the top of the second piece to hold the cables in place.

The fourth piece allows you to gently re-route the cables if you want them to switch directions. This works great for us because we have several cables originating from the same space before heading to different computers and printers throughout the room.

We printed the pieces on our Stratasys uPrint SE Plus printer.

Steve hanging the cables

Steve hanging the cables

Then we snapped the pieces into place

Everything fit perfectly.

The first piece snapped right into the ceiling and the slots for the wires had just enough space to allow us to pull the wires through a bit to avoid any sagging while holding them tightly. The rounded pieces worked really well to divert some of the wires toward the computers on the other side of the room. Now, our cables look nice and streamlined.

Organize your office too

Coming soon will be a way for you to organize your office, please feel free to contact us.




3d printed devices to organize network cables


Tips for buying a 3D Printer

Tips for buying a 3D Printer

3D Buying Tips

Buying a 3D printer can save you plenty of time and money in the long run but, for most of us, it is still a fairly major financial decision. Make sure that purchasing a home printer, such as the MakerBot Replicator (5th Generation) is the right decision for you with these

tips for buying a 3D printer:


MakerBot Replicator 3D printer with rabbit print

MakerBot Replicator (5th Generation)

  • Before purchasing your printer, take a moment to think about how it will benefit you. Although you will, no doubt, find things that you will do with your printer that you would never have anticipated, you should feel confident that you have enough print needs that the printer is worth the initial investment.
  • As a beginner in the world of 3D printing, you are going to want to have plenty of support. Purchasing your printer from a knowledgeable team who will happily offer their assistance, such as The 3D Printer’s Guild, means that you will be left with fewer headaches as you learn to navigate your printer and design software.
  • Familiarize yourself with the policies of the manufacturer. Check to see what sort of warranties and protection plans are offered. If you run into any issues with your machine, you want to be sure that you are protected.
  • Check out some online resources. Forums, blogs, and reviews are fantastic ways to find out more about individual printers, design software, and materials. They are also full of great tips and tricks to help you customize your printer settings to get the exact effect that you are looking for.
  • Before you purchase your machine, do a little research on 3D modeling. There are great websites available, such as Thingiverse, that offer designs that you can either download for free or for a small fee. As you learn about the basics of 3D printing, these pre-designed models are a great option. When you begin to feel more comfortable with your machine, however, you are going to want to start customizing your own parts. Start with a free design program, such as Autodesk’s 123D Design (Learn what happened to 123Dapp), for a simple way to start designing your own prints. Alternatively you can use Autodesk’s Fusion 360 for your design work.
  • To really know if a 3D printer is for you, you may want to see it in action. Industry shows and Maker Faires are great options. Meetups with 3D printing groups are another valuable source of information. If you live in the Western North Carolina region, for example, join us at one of our upcoming 3D Printer’s Guild Meetups.
  • When deciding between machines, a 3D printing hub can be quite helpful. Simply order the same model to be printed by two machines you are deciding between to see which best meets your specifications.
  • As with any online reviews, remember to take the 3D printer reviews with a grain of salt. For starters, people are much more likely to write an angry review about an unpleasant experience than they are to write a good review about a pleasant experience. Furthermore, reviews in magazines are often written after a small time spent with the machine. Since it can take quite a while to become familiar with your machine and its unique settings, these articles may not tell the whole tale. Although reviews are one important part of your research process, don’t let them become unduly important in your search.

With these buying tips, you can feel confident making your 3D purchase. If you would like more information about buying your 3D printer, please feel free to contact us.

How Open Source is Revolutionizing the 3D Printing Industry

How Open Source is Revolutionizing the 3D Printing Industry

How Open Source is Revolutionizing the 3D Printing Industry

RepRap Model (photo from Genomicon website)

RepRap Model (photo from Genomicon website)

Like so many programs and applications before it, open source is driving innovation in the world of 3D printing, helping to make it a more economically feasible form of manufacturing. By bringing together some of the best and most passionate minds, open source has the power to create innovation through collaboration more quickly and efficiently than closed source alternatives. With huge strides in both the software and hardware that are available, open source is cornering its own little section of the home 3D printing market.

Open Source 3D Printing Applications

The roots of the open source 3D community can be traced back to the development of the RepRap by Adrian Bowyer. This innovative gadget is a 3D printer that can actually replicate other 3D printers, extruding the parts from the machine’s nozzle. Starting with the original printer, the RepRap can produce a new printer, piece by piece.
Next up was the Fab@Home printer, which was designed through a collaboration of both hobbyists and professionals using an open source collaboration. Able to fit on your desktop, this home 3D printer marks the first time that a smaller model, affordable printer has been able to work with multiple materials at one time.

Another recent innovation by Rabbit Proto has led to the creation of a printing tip that allows the printer to include electrical components. By printing these components together, engineers have unprecedented abilities to make functioning parts without having to go through the hassle of piecing together several different parts. Developments like this work to make 3D printing even more functional, further expanding its potential uses.

By utilizing the tenets of open source toward hardware applications, these amazing 3D developments, and others like them, are successfully transforming the way that we look at the home 3D printing niche.

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