Additive Manufacturing Material Extrusion processes have actually been in existence since the 1980’s and offer a rapid prototyping method to reduce the cost of an otherwise expensive field.
AM-ME can also be known by a number of other names including Direct Ink Writing or DIW, Fused Filament Fabrication or FFF, Extrusion Freeform Fabrication or EFF to name but a few.
In late 1980s Additive Manufacturing Material Extrusion (AM-ME) processes were identified as a part of rapid prototyping or fixtureless manufacturing. The AM-ME process is the one of Additive Manufacturing (AM) process. The AM process is the process of building products by layering a material directly from a Computer Aided Design (CAD) model in a structured manner to fabricate a component or assembly.
Additive Manufacturing Material Extrusion (AM-ME) is a form of rapid prototyping that offers the potential for reduction of cost and time as well as the possibility to create complex structures that are difficult or impossible to machine with common manufacturing techniques.
ISO/ASTM definition: “material extrusion—an additive manufacturing process in which material is selectively dispensed through a nozzle or orifice.”
Material Extrusion can also be known as (in alphabetical order):
- Direct Ink Writing or DIW
- Extrusion Freeform Fabrication or EFF
- Fused Deposition Modeling or FDM® (Stratasys Inc.)
- Fused Filament Fabrication or FFF
- Glass 3D Printing or G3DP
- Liquid Deposition Modeling or LDM
- Micropen Writing
- Plastic Jet Printing or PJP (3D Systems Corporation)
- Robocasting or Robotic Deposition
As Figure 1 shows, the Additive Manufacturing Material extrusion (AM-ME) process is a layering technology where each layer is built from extruded beads of material – typically a thermoplastic. In the AM-ME process, the material is extruded through a nozzle, where it is heated and then deposited in beads placed side by side. The component or assembly is built incrementally, layer by layer. The nozzle can move along the X and Y axes horizontally, and a platform (or deposition head) moves up or down vertically after each new layer is deposited.
Figure 1: Material extrusion process
Figure 2: (a) A four-layer cylinder, (b) Top view of the cylinder
Figure 3: Build and support materials
1. H. Eiliat: Development of Optimal Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing Tool Path Parameters for Minimizing Void Regions Using Contemporary Tool Path Solutions, 2018. Electronic Theses and Dissertations. University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, 7464;
2. D. Braconnier: Materials informatics approach to material extrusion additive manufacturing, MSc thesis, Worcester Polytechnik Institute, April 2018, Accessed DEC 2018;
3. C. Silbernagel: Additive manufacturing 101-3: what is material extrusion?, Accessed DEC 2018.
Date Published: Feb-2019