In a closer look to the 3D printing in action, we can recognize different printing techniques that are used 3D printing. While there are different 3D printing types, the base concept behind it are the same. Most of the 3D printers use the “Addictive Manufacturing” technique that depend on building objects by adding thin layers above each other.
Different methods are used in adding these thin layers on top of each other and the 3D printed materials vary depending on different techniques. Subsequently, each type of the 3D printers are designed to follow specific printing method.
The advantages and disadvantages of each method vary based on number of factors such as the printing materials, the printed volume, the quality of the produced product and the price of the final product.
Below are the common types of 3D printing technologies that you can find in the 3D printers in the market:
3D Printing (powder printing)
In this 3D printing technique, the 3D printer builds the model by adding layers of powder on top of each other and connects it with glue. The advantage of this technology that it supports coloring the models and its price is affordable comparing with other technique. The disadvantage is the volume limitation printed model.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
In the Fused Deposition Modeling, the 3D printer uses filament of plastic that is heated and extruded to build the 3D model layer by layer. While, the technology is similar to the above one. The printing price for this method is affordable, but it does not support as much colors as using the powder printing.
Stereolithography 3D Printing
The Stereolithography technology uses a photopolymer (Resin) and UV laser beam. The laser beam moves through the liquid photopolymer and starts to trace the 3D printing model. The beam turns the liquid material into a solid model with the same concept of additive manufacturing process we discussed earlier.
The advantage of the Stereolithography is the speed as it can printing model with functional parts within one day and it can print sizes up to 210x70x80 cm. The disadvantage of this technique is the price of the photopolymer, which costs around $80 to $210 per liter. Also, the 3D printer price ranges between $100,000 to $500,000.
Selective Laser Sintering
The Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) merge between the 3D printing powder technology and the Stereolithography as it uses the laser beam to shape the 3D model from a powder or combination of two powders. The laser beam (such as carbon dioxide laser) can create the 3D object from different materials such as plastic, metal, ceramics, and glass powders.
Unlike the stereolithography technology, this method does not require support structure due to the fact that the model is shaped inside a powder. Also, it allows creating geometrics that was impossible before.
The 3D printing technologies are evolving in the last few years in order to solve the barriers from using it on wide range. The printed volume, the materials price, and the 3D printers costs are some of the problems that need to be solved in order to bring this new technology on a wide scale in the market.
Did you try any of the above technologies? If so, share with us your ideas and which one do you think is the more effective.