Like many other additive manufacturing processes, FDM process is driven by a moving heat source, and temperature history plays an important role in determining the mechanical properties and geometry of the final parts. Thermal simulation of FDM is challenging due to geometric complexity of manufacturing process and inherent computational complexity which requires numerical solution at every time increment of the process.

we describe a new approach to thermal simulation of the FDM process, formulated as an explicit finite difference method that is applied directly on as-manufactured model described by a typical manufacturing process plan. The thermal model accounts for most relevant thermal effects including heat convection and radiation to the environment, heat conduction with build platform and between adjacent roads (and adjacent layers). We show that the proposed simulation method achieves linear time complexity. This implies that the simulation not only scales to handle 3D printed components of arbitrary complexity but also can achieve real-time performance.

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