3D Printing

Fraunhofer USA CMW offers research and development of various Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) processes. We print prototypes and small series for customers, as well as developing customized filaments. A wide range of materials can be printed utilizing FFF, such as thermoplastic polymers, metals and ceramics.



Part Printing

Fraunhofer USA CMW offers design and consulting services for parts and prototypes you may need. We will help pick out the material that best suits your needs, and print your custom part using optimal parameters. We develop printing processes of custom-designed parts up to (500x400x450 mm) in volume, choosing from a plethora of materials:


Thermoplastic polymers  

- Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)    

- Polylactic acid (PLA)    

- Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)

- Polystyrene (PS)

- Polycarbonate (PC)    

- Polyamide (PA)

- Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)    

- Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)

- Polyether ether ketone (PEEK)



- Stainless steel 316L

- Stainless steel 17-4PH

- Maraging steel

- Super alloy IN 718

- Super alloy IN 625

- Dental alloy CoCrW

- Light metal Ti6Al4V

- Hard metal WCCo

- Iron



Polymer composites

- Polyetherimide (PEI) with carbon fiber    

- PLA with iron powder




- Zirconium Dioxide

- Aluminum Oxide



Material Analysis

3D printed materials behave differently when compared to conventional manufactured materials. We analyze mechanical properties of 3D printable materials in order to identify the most suitable one for any application.


Filament Development

We believe that FFF technology has an advantage over the existing manufacturing of dense metal parts. For this reason, Fraunhofer USA CMW also focuses on creating metal and ceramic filaments that can be used for FFF printing. They are made out of metal powder (roughly 80-90% by weight), and the remaining 10-20% consists of polymer and wax. Feedstocks are created and fed to an extruder, which will create a filament at a constant 1.75 mm diameter. The filament is then winded around a spool and is ready to print. We test the behavior of each filament during the printing process, in order to obtain the optimal printing parameters.

After the printing process, a green part is obtained. In order for it to be a usable dense metal part, it has to go through the solvent debinding and sintering processes. The solvent debinding process consists of a solvent bath at roughly 45°C, which removes the binder, then the sintering process removes the backbone polymer. During these processes, the printed part undergoes a considerable shrinkage of 14.7 +/- 0.3% in the X and Y directions and 15.4 +/- 0.1% in the Z direction, which are taken into consideration when a part is designed.

Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) Research

Research interests at Fraunhofer USA CMW include multi-material printing and filament development for printing complex metals and ceramics as well as materials for medical applications. Multi-material printing is achieved by utilizing multiple print heads.

© Fraunhofer USA CMW
© Fraunhofer USA CMW
© Fraunhofer USA CMW

About Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) Technology

FFF technology is usually simpler and cheaper; it requires less maintenance than powder bed technologies (e.g. selective laser sintering) and it can print a vast variety of materials (polymers, metals, ceramics). One additional advantage of FFF over other additive manufacturing methods is the ability to print hollow shapes. FFF is already applied in different fields such as automotive, aerospace, industrial, medical and electronics.

FFF technology allows for the creation of a physical part starting from a 3D CAD model, which is sliced horizontally into many layers through a software. The print head heats up the filament to melting temperature and then prints the part layer by layer following the Z direction.

© Fraunhofer USA CMW
© Fraunhofer USA CMW
© Fraunhofer USA CMW