Choosing 3D Printing Processes - Which is Right for Your Application?

Selecting the right 3D printing process for your application is an important decision you need to make. There are many different options available, and each one has its own set of attributes that may or may not be best suited for manufacturing your product. This blog post will go over some of these options so you can learn more about them and get informed before making a final decision.

1. FDM

A common material extrusion process, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) creates 3D printed products layer by layer via a nozzle over the build platform. One layer is deposited over the previous layer until the workpiece fabrication is complete. When building parts through FDM 3D printing services, you can expect functional prototypes at a quick turnaround time. This means that once you approve the design on your end, you can leave it to our 3D printing services to do the rest for you – combined with a diverse range of colours in FDM 3D printing.

Choice of materials can include ABS-ESD7, ULTEM™ 9085 CG resin, ULTEM™ 1010 resin, ABS-M30, ASA material, Nylon 12CF and PC-ISO.

2. SLA

In Stereolithography or SLA 3D printing, a highly precise laser is used to cure light-reactive thermoset materials – or liquid resin – to form each layer.

If your product requires high resolution and accuracy, parts produced by SLA usually offer the sharpest details. A smooth product finish can be achieved after post-curing. SLA 3D printing is also especially useful in producing complex geometry shapes.

Choice of materials can include GP Plus, Somos® WaterShed XC 11122, Taurus, EvoLVe and NeXt.

Example of SLA 3D printing consumer goods by Additive3D Asia

3. Polyjet

As compared to SLA, Polyjet 3D printing uses lower temperatures and UV light to cure the resin. Unlike SLA, this 3D printing process distributes the resin cross-section by cross-section. As a result, the finished product can come off the build platform fully cured. As such, Polyjet 3D printing can rapidly produce highly complex, multi-material parts involving different textures, colours and design requirements.

Choice of materials includes VeroClear and VeroWhite/Grey.

4. SLS

Where liquid resin is cured in SLA, small powdered plastic particles are selectively fused together in Selective Laser Sintering (SLS).

Reducing your unit costs by up to 25%, SLS 3D printing stands out from other 3D printing technologies as support structures are not required. Self-supporting products like pipes and chambers can be made possible through SLS 3D printing.

Choice of materials includes Polypropylene, PA12 material, Polyamide 12 powder, TPU Flexa Black/Grey and Glass-filled Nylon.

Example of SLS 3D printing jigs by Additive3D Asia

5. MJF

A relatively new 3D printing technology by HP, Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) is another powder-based 3D printing technique worth considering for your product manufacturing. However, when compared to SLS 3D printing, for instance, MJF 3D printing can produce more consistent mechanical properties in the final parts. In fact, it is ten times faster than SLS as it heats a whole layer at once, rather than tracing each area. When it comes to speed, you won’t have to wait too long for your high-quality 3D model to be printed through MJF.

Choice of materials includes PA12 and PA12 Glass Beads.

6. Silicone 3D Printing

Finally, the most recent development in the additive manufacturing scene presents silicone rubber 3D printed parts, developed by ACEO. The high elasticity and many other properties of silicone are maintained throughout the 3D printing process. Real elastomer products allow for more design freedom, widening the integration of 3D printing in supply chains of many industries.

Choice of materials include ACEO® Imagine GP Series that come with biocompatibility certificates for compliance up to Class 2a usage.

Find the Ideal 3D Printing Process for Your Application

Ultimately, choosing which method is best for your application will involve considering several factors such as speed, surface finish quality, accuracy, cost per part, material costs and more. Starting with the right company in Singapore like Additive3D Asia, you can expect cost-effective processes to produce prototypes and models in the most efficient way possible. To learn more, check out our articles and feel free to contact us to get an instant quote on our services today!

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