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Material extrusion systems are the most common types of additive manufacturing systems, also known as three-dimensional (3D) printers. This article focuses on the general 3D printing processes as can be demonstrated and manipulated in desktop printers. The discussion includes details of the components involved in material extrusion as well as the melt extrusion solidification (during cooling) process, the underlying mechanism of road bonding, and the factors affecting good part quality. The discussion also covers support material, postprocessing, and road-quality considerations and the addition of infill in melt extrusion to the hollow spaces inside an object to give it structural strength. Information is also provided on different materials and associated material properties that affect the rate the printer is able to advance and retract material, thereby affecting the quality and rate at which a part is printed. The final section provides information on the mechanism of viscous extrusion 3D printing.

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