3D Printing Services

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

At a glance


Early stage prototyping

Lead Time

As fast as 1 day



FDM machines can be categorized into two main categories: professional and hobbyist grade. At Fictiv, all parts produced in PLA are made on hobbyist grade machines to keep costs low and leverage breakaway support. All other FDM materials, specifically ABS, are produced on professional grade machines with soluble support material for greater accuracy and strength.

Hobbyist-Grade Machines

  • Resolution: 0.2mm (0.008”)
  • Infill: 20%
  • Support: breakaway
Prusa i3 MK2 Ultimaker 2 Type A Machines Series 1 Pro
Build Bed Size [x,y,z] 250 x 210 x 200 mm

9.84 x 8.3 x 8 in
342 x 357 x 388 mm

13.4 x 14.05 x 15.28 in
305 x 305 x 305 mm

12 x 12 x 12 in
Materials PLA PLA PLA
Value $699 $2,450 $3,995

Professional-Grade Machines

  • Resolution: 0.25mm (0.01”)
  • Infill: 10-15%
  • Support: soluable
UPrintSE Plus Fortus 400/450mc
Build Bed Size [x, y, z] 203 x 203 x 152 mm

8 x 8 x 6 in
355 x 254 x 254 mm

14 x 10 x 10 in
Materials ABS ABS
Value $699 $2,450

3D Printing Materials





ABS is a plastic material that's great for mechanical strength and early stage rough prototypes. ABS is a cost-effective material for initial prototyping applications, and with post-processing options it can offer better surface finish than PLA.
FDM 3D printing
Black, white, neutral
0.25 mm

Design Recommendations

Max Part Size

405 x 355 x 406 mm
304 x 304 x 304 mm

Min Feature Size

1 mm
1 mm


+/- 0.5 mm or +/- 1% per inch
+/- 0.5 mm or +/- 1% per inch

Min Wall Thickness

1 mm
1 mm

Min Hole Diameter

1 mm
1 mm

Min Gaps for Mating Parts

0.1 mm minimum; 0.2 mm to ensure fit
0.1 mm minimum; 0.2 mm to ensure fit

Additional Design for Manufacturing Tips

  • No internal cavities
  • Limit curved surfaces, especially for PLA and PET-G as they require a flat surface to result in a successful print
  • Orientation on small holes is very important (xy plane is much more cylindrical)
  • Bridging: distances of up to 10 mm do not necessarily need support material, as long as the area being printed has support on both sides of the material being laid down.

Cost Saving Tips

  • Cut large models into multiple smaller parts, to fit on a smaller, less expensive machines.
  • Reduce the amount of support material required by overhangs and special orientations.
  • Choose PLA for simple geometry parts and where tolerance is less important.

About the Process

Fused deposition modeling (FDM) is a 3D printing technology (also known as additive manufacturing) commonly used for modeling, prototyping, and production applications. Each layer is created by extruding material from a nozzle to produce 3D objects.

FDM processes require support material, either breakaway or soluble, so it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing this process as it can affect the final part.


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