Types of 3D Printing
F D M
FUSED DEPOSITION MODELLING
HOW: Long thin plastic filament, is pulled off a reel and fed through a heated nozzle. The plastic then melts and is deposited in a new layer on top of the last one. Each successive layer bonds & hardens rapidly as it cools.
PROs: Widest variety of materials types & colours available. Easiest & cheapest method of printing.
CONs: Lowest resolution prints & contoured surface lines are left behind.
S L A
HOW: Light or laser is directed at a liquid photopolymer resin. The exposed liquid, cures & hardens to form each successive layer. The fresh prints are then further cured & hardened in an Ultraviolet oven.
PROs: High resolutions & accuracy attainable. Smoothest 3D Printed surfaces possible.
CONs: Materials generally expensive & brittle. And usually not suitable for high temperature applications.
S L S
SELECTIVE LASER SINTERING
HOW: Fine powdered material is spread over the previous layer below. Then a laser fuses them together.
PROs: Capable of printing tough & flexible parts with medium resolutions. Support structures are not required. Possible to produce large quantities of parts at relatively low cost. Capable of printing in metal. Can withstand high temperatures.
CONs: Surface texture similar to a fine sandpaper.
HOW: Fine powdered material is spread over the last layer below. Binder & ink are then jetted onto that new layer to give it colour and bond it to the previous layer.
PROs: Capable of full colour prints. Support structures not required.
CONs: Surface texture similar to a fine sandpaper. Parts are brittle like a ceramic.
HOW: Liquid photopolymer resin is jetted onto each layer. And a UV light is used to harden and bond it onto the previous layer below.
PROs: High resolutions and accuracy attainable.
CONs: Materials generally more expensive & brittle.
HOW: Each layer is cut out of the material and glued onto the previous layer below.
PROs: Brightest colours and cheap paper materials.
CONs: Slow printing speed & hollow prints not possible.