3D printing has gained a huge momentum as people are getting into DIYs and creating various things they can sell online. Not just that, the latest technology has made it easy for people to print things in 3D form that wasn’t possible before. The 3D printer came into existence way back in 1983, but it was during the last decade that it became commonplace. Now people can print things right from the comfort of their homes. 3D printing filaments are available in so many materials and colors, which has made 3D printing so much easier.
But, the most important part of 3D printing is the technology behind it. 3D printing is not like your ordinary printing. There are so many steps and process that goes into play. You can choose from so many types of 3D printing technology. Choosing the right 3D printer will depend on quality, cost, features, time, capabilities and other requirements. You can compare the features to choose the printer you need for your project.
Here are some of the popular 3D printing technologies available today:
FDM or the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Technology
The FDM technology is one of the most popular 3D printing technology that is widely used for printing various objects. It is also known as the Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF).It is known for using the process called material extrusion where the machine is continuously fed with thermoplastic printing filament to create a 3D object.
The printing process starts with the feeding the printer of solid thermoplastic 3D printing filaments like PLA, ABS or PETG. The filament is pushed through a heated nozzle where the materials melts at certain temperature. The extrusion head of the printing machine moves along the set coordinates where it deposits the melted filament on a building platform. After the deposition is completed it is allowed to cool down after which the filament solidifies and forms a solid object. The process is again repeated till the object is formed completely. If the object has overhanging parts or hallows, support materials are used as they can be removed by dissolving in water.
FDM printing technology is used for creating 3D objects like prototypes, concept models, manufacturing aids, electrical housings,jigs and fixtures, and more. Many people use the FDM printing technology as it offers the best surface and color finish is compatible with a wide range of 3D printing filaments. The FDM printers are compatible with various 3D printing filaments and are the most common type of printers used by people.
Read: Jigs and Fixtures with 3D Printer Filaments: The Modern Evolution
- SLA or Stereolithography
The Stereolithography is the oldest 3D printing technology in the world. It came into being in 1986 by Chuck Hull. It prints 3D objects using the method called the Vat Polymerization. In this process, a photopolymer resin material is used in a vat where it is cured by a light source. The printing technology uses ultra violet laser to create layers for forming a 3D object in solid form.
An SLA printer uses mirrors, one on the X-axis and the other one the Y-axis. The mirrors or the galvanometers aims the laser beam over the vet where the filaments in melted form are present. The laser beam slowly solidifies the material in the build platform area where the final object is created layer by layer. The final object is chemically treated to remove the excess resins, which makes the final object looks more polished and is stronger than before.
The SLA printers are very fast and perfect for creating prototypes. If you care more about accuracy and precision, the SLA printer is the perfect choice. It can easily create 3D objects from the 3D CAD data (computer-generated) files. And, it will only take few years to complete the process of forming the object.
SLA printing technology is perfect for creating unique models, prototypes, patterns and production parts.
- Digital Light Processing or DLP
The digital light processing or the DLP is a 3D printing technology very similar to SLA technology with a few differences. Instead of the laser beams, it uses a digital light projector. The light projector flashes a single image of each layer if it’s a small parts and multiple flashes if the printing object is a large part.
Printing resins are used for creating the object where the light is projected into it via LED source like a lamp. A digital microwave device or the DMD is used for directing the lights in the build surface. DLP is faster than SLA as each payer of the 3D object is exposed at the same time. The end result is very smooth and detailed. But the limitation it has that its parts are brittle and is not suited for creating mechanical parts.
This printing technology is great for printing mold-type polymer prototypes, jewelry, dental applications, and hearing aids.Furthermore, the DLP technology is cost-effective as it is compatible with a many 3D printing filament. It can easily use cheaper materials and created the most detailed and high-quality 3D objects in less time. You can use this technology to print more complex objects easily and reduce waste.
- Selective Laser Sintering or the SLS
The Selective Laser Sintering or the SLS is a 3D printing process that uses the Power Bed Fusion technology. In this method thermoplastic powder made of the Nylon 6, Nylon 11, Nylon 12 is heated to just below its melting point. The powder is then deposited on the build platform using a recoating or wiper blade. The powder is deposited in thin layers usually not more than usually 0.1 mm thick.
The laser beam solidifies the sinters powder by scanning it. Once one cross-section is completed, the process is repeated till the object is manufactured as desired. This printing technology does not require any support filament or material as the powder that has not been sintered remains in place to support the object.
The SLS printing technology is great for printing 3D objects like functional parts, objects with hollow designs, and low-run production.The 3D objects printed with the SLS printers are durable and accurate and can be used for printing a wide range of objects. You can easily create parts with mechanical properties and complex designs. The time of printing is more than other type of printing method and so is the cost.
3D printing technologies come with their own merits and demerits. You can choose the printing technology you like based on your requirement like quality, cost, time, type of object you want to print, printing capabilities and more. These are some of commonly used technique for printing high-quality and accurate 3D objects efficiently. You can use a wide range of 3D printing filaments to create 3D objects of your choice. With today’s technology, you can easily create objects using various printing filaments and colors. They are perfect for hobbyists, professionals and anyone who loves 3D printing.
MakeShaper 3D Printing Filament
If you are looking for high-quality, durable and versatile 3D printing filament, we have a wide range of choices like PETG filament, ABS filament, PVA filament, PLA filament, HIPS filament, & much more. You can buy them in bulk at the most amazing prices online at MakeShaper. Our aim is to provide high-quality 3D printing solution for various needs at a very low-cost. Visit our website and browse our filaments and choose the one that matches your needs. You can call us at (330) 753-0100 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.