FDM vs SLA Printing Technology – How Does 3D Printing Service Work?
FDM 3D Printing
FDM, short for Fused Deposition Modeling is also known as Fused Filament Fabrication. It is a subclass of the larger category of material extrusion printing. In this process of 3D printing an object can be created via the selective deposition of melted material, one layer over the other, at a time.
As 3D printing cost slowly decreases in India, FDM has become the most used form of affordable 3D printing services. Engineers are increasingly using this form of online 3D printing for prototyping purposes that would otherwise be extremely time-consuming using conventional techniques of manufacturing.
The technique explained
The process works with an extrusion nozzle moving both horizontally as well as vertically over a build platform.
Whatever the material, they take the form of plastic threads that are eventually melted and fed into the build platform. The melted plastic finally cools down and solidifies, bonding with its preceding layer. This process is repeated for every layer.
Advantages of FDM technology
- Ease of use: FDM 3D printing simplifies the process of manufacturing. At the same time, manufacturing engineers have the flexibility to efficiently test, modify and produce the final product within the given deadlines. Contrast this with the constant stress of missed deadlines using conventional techniques of manufacturing. Simply procure an affordable 3D printer for your business and gain a competitive edge.
- Cost-effective: Businesses are always on the lookout for ways to cut down on costs. Enter FDM 3D printing and you have yourself an efficient solution in this regard! Businesses can hope to bring their prototyping costs down. Not only this, testing and overall production costs can also be potentially reduced using FDM printing.
- Flexible material choices: FDM 3D printing offers versatility when it comes to the choice of materials used in the process of production. What’s more, these materials are inexpensive.
- Streamlined post-processing: FDM 3D printing is ideal if you are looking to cut down on production time. Time is money, after all! Less post-processing translates to time and money saved.
Common FDM Materials
FDM 3D printing offers a wide range of printing materials from thermoplastics (e.g. PLA and ABS) to engineering materials (e.g. TPU, and PETG) and high-performance thermoplastics
SLA Printing Technology
SLA, short for Stereolithography is a process of 3D printing that is classified under the Vat Photopolymerization family. It is used to produce objects through the selective curing of polymer resin, one layer over another, by way of using an ultraviolet (UV) laser beam.
SLA is the preferred weapon of choice where highly precise and/ or products with smooth surfaces are required owing to its cost-effectiveness. This technology shares many features with the Direct Light Processing (DLP) technology.
Advantages of SLA 3D Printing
- Precise and of superior quality: SLA printing services have gained popularity owing to the technology’s high precision and promise of superior quality prototypes and end products.
- Complex geometrical shapes can be achieved with precision and fine details. SLA layer thickness can be achieved as low as 25 μm.
- Achieve the tightest dimensional tolerances with this technology: +/- 0.005″ (0.127 mm) for the first inch, and an additional 0.002″ for every additional inch.
- Surface finishes are the smoothest in the business with SLA 3D printing.
Common SLA Materials
Liquid resin is the most common SLA material.
FDM and SLA: Which one should you choose?
- Print materials: Thermoplastics used in FDM 3D printing can be combined with certain other materials, depending on the requirements of production. SLA printing materials are very limited in their choice.
- Accuracy: SLA is capable of printing objects with a higher degree of accuracy and finer details than FDM.
- Post-processing: Objects printed on FDM printers are stronger than those printed via SLA technology.
- Cost-effectiveness: FDM printers and their materials are more affordable than SLA printers.
Both SLA and FDM print technologies have their own USPs. Consider the requirements of your production and then make the right choice.