The importance of 3D printing is surely increasing with each passing day. Several industries are using various forms of 3D printing. From startups to big and established business brands, a wide range of companies are now utilizing the additive manufacturing technology.
There are ample amount of 3D printers in the market but choosing the right one is extremely important. Some printers offer bulk manufacturing with less detailing, and on the other hand, some offer the ability to print a very complex designs. In order to understand which technology is the best to serve our purpose we must understand the working of the two most prominent 3D printing technologies, Filament Deposition Manufacturing (FDM), and Stereo lithography (SLA).
FDM technology or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), is basically a type of 3D printing technology which uses a thin filament like structure as a raw material to produce the final product. In Stereo lithography we use light sensitive liquid based materials as the raw material.
When should we choose FDM printers-
A skinny plastic layer as raw material is used in FDM printers. The thermoplastic material is passed through the heated printing head, it extrudes the filament in a layered fashion. Throughout this process the 3D printer moves in three dimensions to create horizontal layers. This entire step is repeated multiple times before the final product is made.
Advantages of FDM printers-
- These printers can print horizontal layers of 100 to 400 microns thickness.
- They are certainly affordable and user friendly as the cost-to-size ratio Is lesser in case of the FDM printers.
- Scalability is definitely one of the major advantages that FDM printers offer, you can scale the object design to any required size in these printers.
- FDM is the best fit when it comes to printing products of wide range of colors and shapes as it uses several sorts of filaments such as ABS, PLA, PVA, and TPU.
(Image- FDM printer)
When to use Stereo lithography printers-
These printers use leverage laser technology. This laser technology is utilized to fuse the various parts with the bed of powder or a liquid photo-polymerizing resin container. Using this technology one can print a design bottom-up using a vat with a transparent bottom. This printing technology has been proven to be the best when it comes to major detailing of any product. If you require a product with absolute finesse and smooth surface you must opt for these printers as they offer an accuracy of ±0.10 mm.
Advantages of Stereo lithography printers-
- One of the major advantages of these printers is that they can make a wide number of products in relatively short period of time since curing is fast. Although these printers serve their purpose quite quickly but the production time also depends on some more criterion’s such as size, complexity and layer thickness.
- As these printers create low-cost yet accurate models so it also aids prototyping. It is a cost effective option for low-volume production of parts and provides quick lead times for making these.
- SLA is known for generating tooling fixtures too. It offers the possibility of creating fixtures rapidly and with efficiency.
- SLA parts are renowned for being accurate to at least the tolerance of the stage movement – usually 0.002” to 0.006”, but possibly as low as 0.0005” – and with an acceptable surface finish in the as-molded state.
- As SLA is CAD driven so scaling is certainly easy to process.
(Image- SLA printer)
Conclusion– there’s a wide range of options available in the market but we do need to find out the best options that would serve our purpose. These 3D printers do have a wide range of advantages to offer but they also have certain shortcomings for example in case of an SLA, while a producing certain parts external supports should be provided else the parts may get bent and become deformed. Similarly in case of FDM printers fused deposition modeling is slow and the quality of the finished product might not always be as refined as expected.
How can MELT help you in both of these aspects-
MELT is the one stop destination for your production based needs. We operate using the best of technologies based on the needs of the customer. We customize each and every order according to the specifications and details highlighted by the customer. We perform each technique keeping in mind a set budget. Our company has the best 3D printing services options that operate while producing a wide range of products and we also provide several distinct types of raw materials to choose from. Our company will cater to all your needs to give you the best quality within a fixed range.
To know more about how our services can add value to your business/ work or requirement, please feel free to connect with us.
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