An introduction to

Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)

Fused filament fabrication (FFF), also known as fused deposition modeling (FDM), is a 3D printing process in which thermoplastic material is pushed through a heated nozzle to create objects layer by layer.

Affordable – FFF technology is typically a lower-cost solution compared to other 3D printing processes, both in terms of initial investment and running costs.

Intuitive – FFF technology is also renowned for being easy to understand and use – making it ideal for busy engineers and elementary school kids alike.

Reliable – FFF technology most importantly has proven so reliable, accurate, and capable of producing robust parts over the years that most of the world’s leading manufacturing, design, and education organizations now use it to drive innovation.

What's the Best FFF Printer?

While all FFF 3D printers deposit material in a similar way, their capabilities and performance may differ a lot.

Material Compatibility – Some are open-source material systems (meaning you can print with just about any third-party plastic filament), while others are closed with more limited material options.

Size – The printable space, or build volume, can range from a few inches to a few meters in length, width and height.

Cost – Prices range from $250 to $250,000. Hobbyist printers typically retail from anywhere between $200 and $3,000 USD. Professional printers are in the mid-range of $3,000 to $15,000, which better suit smaller companies with prototyping and manufacturing needs. Industrial printers are anywhere from $15,000 to $250,000 and can produce high-resolution parts with improved part accuracy, machine reliability, and speed.

Advanced Features – Heated build chambers, Material management, Auto-bed leveling, Multiple nozzles, Variable nozzle diameters, Precision mechanics, and High-speed extrusion heads enable more capabilities. While keeping these components in mind, as well as other factors that impact reliability and ease-of-use, we have partnered with the following leading brands to offer our customers with what we believe are some of the best FFF 3D printers on the market.





UltiMaker S7 Pro Bundle

The S7 Pro Bundle takes the new S7 flagship model from UltiMaker and combines it with the Material Handling Station to create a professional desktop 3D printing powerhouse. Evolving from the UltiMaker S5, the S7 offers an integrated Air Manager, an upgraded print head, an enhanced build stack with a flexible build plate, and improved insulation. The Material Station provides automatic material handling while also storing up to six spools of filament at optimal conditions to ensure the most reliable 3D printing experience to date.

UltiMaker S7

The S7 is the latest flagship model from UltiMaker improving on all that made the S5 successful, now with an integrated Air Manager, an upgraded print head, an enhanced build stack with a flexible build plate, and improved insulation for the most reliable 3D printing experience to date. Add the Material Station to make an S7 Pro Bundle and take professional 3D printing productivity to the next level.

UltiMaker S5 Pro Bundle

The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle consists of the S5 printer combined with the Air Manager and Material Station add-ons. The easy-to-use and industrially capable S5 Pro Bundle delivers an automated professional 3D printing experience. The Air Manager provides efficient air filtering and helps maintain a stable printing temperature, while the Material Station offers automatic material handling and humidity control to keep 3D printing materials in optimal conditions. Together, these features unlock 24/7 productivity and demanding applications with an extended range of materials.

UltiMaker S5

The UltiMaker S5 offers all of the best-in-class technical specs that the S3 provides, such as dual extrusion, an intuitive touchscreen, remote printing, 200+ material compatibility, all with a larger build volume. Additionally, the S5 offers optional add-ons such as the Air Manager for air filtration and the Material Handling Station, combined which make up the S5 Pro Bundle to provide a complete 3D printing solution capable of running continuously while maximizing uptime.  

UltiMaker S3

The UltiMaker S3 is a professional desktop 3D printer that offers an award-winning touchscreen, remote printing, and dual extrusion capabilities. This open-material system combined with intuitive software integration optimizes productivity for various applications across industries. 

UltiMaker 2+ Connect

The Ultimaker 2+ Connect improves on the workhorse legacy of it's predecessor with a new touchscreen and remote printing capabilities. A clean and updated design keeps maintenance to a minimum – just 20 minutes per month, without the need for special tools. Switch out swappable nozzles in less than 5 minutes for high uptime, from 0.25 mm for detailed prints up to 0.8 mm for fast drafts or 3D sketches. Add the 2+ Connect Air Manager for air quality peace-of-mind.

Intamsys FUNMAT PRO 310

The latest addition to Intamsys functional materials (FUNMAT) 3D printer series, the FUNMAT PRO 310. This new professional FFF 3D printer is engineered to print with engineering-grade materials, delivering flexibility and ease of use to engineers and small businesses. It boasts a thermostatic chamber and a large build volume, providing incredible print quality while reducing potential errors or flaws. The printer can be equipped with an independently sealed drying filament box with a reusable molecular sieve, keeping humidity from impacting the quality of filament.

Intamsys FUNMAT PRO 610HT

The Intamsys Funmat Pro 610HT is a 3D printer capable of printing high-temperature materials like PEEK and ULTEM. It has a large build volume of 610 x 508 x 508 mm, an enclosed heated chamber, and a dual extruder system. This makes it ideal for industrial and manufacturing purposes that require the use of engineering-grade plastics.

Intamsys FUNMAT PRO 410

Intamsys' Funmat Pro 410 3D printer is the perfect choice for engineers, manufacturers, and anyone in need of high-quality, industrial-grade 3D printing capabilities. With a spacious build volume of 305 x 305 x 406mm and the ability to print with high-temperature filaments, this printer can produce parts that are durable, precise, and ready for real-world use. Its advanced features, such as a heated build chamber and automatic bed leveling, make it easy to use and reliable.

Intamsys HT Enhanced

The Intamsys Funmat HT Enhanced is an unmatched professional-grade 3D printer that is designed to print high-performance materials such as PEEK, PPSU, and other high-temperature thermoplastics. With its advanced features and capabilities, the Funmat HT is the ideal choice for engineers, researchers, and manufacturers who require precision and reliability in their 3D printing applications.

BigRep ONE.4

The BigRep ONE.4 is a large-format 3D printer that is designed for industrial use. With a build volume of 1 cubic meter, it is capable of producing large-scale objects with high precision. The printer is equipped with advanced features, including a heated build platform and a user-friendly touchscreen interface, making it ideal for a wide range of applications in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and architecture.


The BigRep STUDIO.2 is a durable, cost-effective partner for innovation and industrial production that makes manufacturing high-quality, large-format parts easy. With a sleek, space-conscious body, perfect for the production of factory tooling in any setting, the STUDIO.2 is optimal for any workspace - from the office to the factory floor.

BigRep PRO.2

The BigRep PRO.2 is a large-format industrial 3D printer that is designed to create high-quality and detailed prints at a large scale. It has a build volume of one-cubic-meter and is capable of printing with a variety of materials, including PLA, ABS, PETG, PC, Carbon Fiber and more. The printer is also equipped with advanced features such as a heated build platform and a filament monitoring system to ensure the best possible print quality.

Supported by its Precision Motions Portal, a durable, custom-built gantry, along with Bosch Rexroth CNC components, the PRO consistently delivers on speed, precision, and quality. Now thanks to JUMPSTART, a new BigRep hybrid software-hardware solution that lets you skip the hassle and just start printing, the PRO is easier than ever to use.


FFF 3D printers use spools of filament (chopped pellets are sometimes used as an alternative option). There are two industry standard diameters for the spools, 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm. These range in volume from 350 g to 8 kg. There are several types of filament that are compatible on FFF printers. 

General Purpose – PLA, PETG
Engineering-Grade – ABS, ASA, CPE, Nylon, Polycarbonate (PC), Polypropylene (PP), PEBA and TPU.
Composite – Carbon Fiber, Fiberglass, Kevlar
High-Performance – PEEK, PEKK, Ultem (PEI), PPSU, PEEK-CF, PEEK-GF
Water Soluble Support – PVA, BVOH, AquaSys, HIPS


The evolution of FFF 3D printing is accelerating as more companies are beginning to adopt it. As the potential applications for 3D printing increase, companies are beginning to find ways to create new business models and opportunities with the technology. The following is a quick summary of current industries and applications that are using FFF 3D printers:

1. Aerospace
2. Automotive
3. Architecture
4. Art and Design
5. Consumer Goods
6. Education
7. Healthcare
8. Jewelry
9. Manufacturing
10. Sports

1. Tooling, Jigs and Fixtures
2. Patterns, Forms and Molds
3. Robot Arms and Grippers
4. Manifolds
5. Concept Prototypes / Visual Aids
6. Functional Prototypes
7. End-use Parts
8. Spare Parts
9. Concrete Formwork
10. 3D Scan to 3D Print