The key advantages and disadvantages of the technology are summarised below:
+ FDM is the most cost-effective way of producing custom thermoplastic parts and prototypes.
+ The lead times of FDM are short (as fast as next-day-delivery), due to the high availability of the technology.
+ A wide range of thermoplastic materials is available, suitable for both prototyping and some non-commercial functional applications.
- FDM has the lowest dimensional accuracy and resolution compared to other 3D printing technologies, so it is not suitable for parts with intricate details.
- FDM parts are likely to have visible layer lines, so post processing is required for a smooth finish.
- The layer adhesion mechanism makes FDM parts inherently anisotropic.