6 Common Types of 3D Printing Technologies

Additive manufacturing, also referred to as 3D printing, is a groundbreaking technology that creates three-dimensional objects by adding layers of material. There are several types of 3D printing, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. This article will discuss 6 common types of 3D printing, including their material options, strengths, limitations, and applications.

●Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
●Stereolithography (SLA)
●Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
●Digital Light Processing (DLP)
Binder Jetting (BJ)
●Material Jetting (MJ)

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM):

FDM is the most widely used type of 3D printing. It works by melting a plastic filament and extruding it through a nozzle to create a part layer by layer. FDM is relatively inexpensive and easy to use, and can print with a wide range of materials(ABS, PLA, and nylon).

FDM Printing

Advantages:

●Affordable and widely accessible
●It can print with a wide range of materials
●Easy to use

Weaknesses:

●Limited precision and resolution
●It can produce visible layer lines and require post-processing to smooth the surface
●Not suitable for high-stress or high-temperature applications

Common Applications:
FDM is often used for rapid prototyping, low-cost production of small parts, and hobbyist projects.

Stereolithography (SLA):

SLA uses a vat of liquid resin that is cured by a UV laser to create parts layer by layer. SLA can produce parts with a high level of detail and accuracy, making it a popular choice for creating molds for injection molding and dental and medical models.

SLA 3D Printing

Advantages:

●Highly accurate and can produce parts with a high level of detail
●Can create parts with a smooth surface finish
●Can use a wide range of materials, including resins and polymers

Weaknesses:

●Limited build size
●Can be expensive and require specialized equipment
●Parts can be brittle and may require post-processing to strengthen them

Material Selection:
SLA can print with a wide range of material: resins, polymers, etc.

Applications:
SLA is often used for rapid prototyping, creating molds for injection molding, dental and medical models, and small-scale manufacturing.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS):

SLS uses a laser to sinter powdered material, such as nylon or metal, into a solid part layer by layer. It can produce strong, functional parts with complex geometries and is often used for creating production-ready parts and tooling for injection molding.

SLS 3D Printing

Advantages:

●Produce strong, functional parts with complex geometries
●Print with a wide range of materials, including nylon, TPU, and metal powders
●Create parts without the need for support structures

Weaknesses:

●Requires specialized equipment and can be expensive
●Surface finish may not be as smooth as other types of 3D printing
●Limited resolution and precision

Applications:
SLS is often used for rapid prototyping, creating production-ready parts, and creating tooling for injection molding.

Digital Light Processing (DLP):

DLP uses a projector to cure a liquid resin into a solid part layer by layer. DLP is faster than SLA and can produce highly detailed and accurate parts with a smooth surface finish.

DLP 3D Printing

Advantages:

●Faster than SLA
●Highly detailed and accurate parts
●Produce parts with a smooth surface finish

Weaknesses:

●Limited build size
●Can be expensive and require specialized equipment and materials
●Parts may require post-processing to strengthen them

Material Selection:

DLP can print with a range of materials, including resins and polymers.

Applications:
DLP is often used for rapid prototyping, creating molds for injection molding, dental and medical models, and small-scale manufacturing.

Binder Jetting (BJ):

BJ uses a binder to bond powdered material, such as sand, metal, or ceramics, into a solid part layer by layer. BJ is an efficient method for creating large and complex parts, with the potential for multi-material printing.

Binder Jetting 3D Printing

Advantages:

●Produce large and complex parts
●Print with a wide range of materials, including sand, metal, and ceramics
●Potential for multi-material printing

Weaknesses:

●Limited precision and resolution
●Parts may require post-processing to strengthen them
●Surface finish may not be as smooth as other types of 3D printing

Material Selection:
BJ can print with a range of materials, including sand, metal, and ceramics.

Applications:
BJ is often used for creating large and complex parts, architectural models, and tooling.

 

Material Jetting (MJ):
MJ uses inkjet technology to deposit droplets of material, such as photopolymers or waxes, onto a build platform layer by layer. MJ can produce parts with high resolution and a wide range of materials, including multi-material printing.

Material Jetting 3D Printing

Advantages:

●Produce parts with high resolution and a wide range of materials
●Potential for multi-material printing
●Create parts with a smooth surface finish

Weaknesses:

●Limited build size
●Can be expensive and require specialized equipment and materials
●Parts may require post-processing to strengthen them

Material Selection:
MJ can print with a range of materials, including photopolymers, waxes, and ceramics.

Applications:
MJ is often used for creating small-scale models and prototypes, jewelry making, and dental and medical models.

Conclusion

Choosing the right type of 3D printing depends on the intended use of the final product, budget, and desired material properties. With the rapid advancement of 3D printing technology, there are more options than ever for creating complex and functional parts, making it an increasingly popular choice for prototyping and manufacturing.

Beska’s Custom 3D Printing Service for Rapid Prototyping

How many 3D printing technologies the Beska team provides? There are two types of 3d printing technologies that we offer for your rapid prototyping projects: SLA and SLS rapid prototyping.

The main materials we offer include resins, nylon, ABS, PMMA, metals(aluminum), etc. You can send us all of your specifications and we will create the custom prototypes for you. Contact us here for more details!

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