With the 3D printer technology evolving at a rapid rate, the need to choose between the right one too is going overboard. Though the printers almost work in the same way, the technologies fed in them are somewhat different and that’s what makes the difference.
If you’re stuck up in making the correct choice, then here are some of the basic differential tones of both the technologies that will help you out.
In 1986, SLA or stereolithography was first introduced to the technological world. Chuck Hull, the founder of 3D Systems’, proposed the idea. His idea for the photopolymerization of the resin using the laser technology gave him the idea of the 3D printing. The DLA technology, which was later introduced as a modified version of Hull’s patent, introduced the SLA technology to the various printing firms.
In the FDM technologies, thermoplastics are used in the form of filaments using which the 3D printed design is obtained. These thermoplastics include the PLA and the ABS plastics. Apart from the polymers, wood, cork, and coffee has also been used in the manufacturing of the filaments. The use of a number of organic polymers has introduced a wide variety in the colours of these filaments. The diameter is usually kept between 1.75 to 2.85 millimetre.
The resin is the main component used in the SLA technology. If you try a resin filament, your choice in the colour will be limited. The resin filaments come at a high price too and sometimes, in some printers that use the SLA technology, the filaments are irreplaceable.
In the SLA technology, the light or the lasers do the polymerisation and this is why the outcome is quite smoother. The optical point of the laser is high and that is why the resolution of the layers is too high, ranging from 0.05 to 0.01 millimetre. The printing is not a physical print as the light used in this technology is somewhat incapable of doing so.
The calibration of the FDM machine matters the most in maintaining the quality of the prints. It depends on two factors- the size of the extrusion die that will come out of the projector and the coordinates of the movements of the extrusion pointer in the X-Y field. The layer thickness in the FDM printing affects the quality of the print greatly and that’s why the thickness range is kept between 0.5 to 0.127 millimetre.
Post-processing is the final level in the 3D printing work and it varies greatly between the two technologies. In the FDM process, the supports are removed along with the extra plastic. To add on the extra smoothness, the product is rubbed with either a sandpaper or a Polysher like a tool. This post-processing is quite simple and hence the work gets too easier.
In the SLA technology, the main problem that lingers in the air is the remaining resin. The resin cannot be removed with hand and that’s why the item is dissolved in isopropyl alcohol. The removal is done manually with hands using gloves. Once the resin is removed, the supports are removed with precautionary care.
In the FDM technology, the printer prints with a cost of around €200 with the filaments costing €15 to €20 per kilogram.
In the SLA technology, the printing alone costs €3,000 and it’s only the starting price. Apart from this, the resin costs up to €70. The additional charges are added on a huge scale in the SLA technology.The use of both the technologies varies greatly with the area of application. FDM is used mainly in lost costing models, experimentation and education, and in the fields where the quality of the prints isn’t an important factor. However, the SLA technology is used in areas, which demand a high-quality print despite the charges of the process.
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