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Processes

Stereo lithography (SLA)

The stereolithography printing process utilizes photopolymer liquid resin that is cured by ultraviolet light. The part is built layer-by-layer. The UV light continues this process throughout the entire vat of resin, selectively curing and hardening the resin to match the design of the CAD file. This process works well for objects that call for precise, miniscule details and high resolution styling or surface finish.

Materials utilized: Hard resins, semi-flexible resins, casting resins, and impact resistant resins.

Pros:

 

Cons

  • Tight tolerances and high detail precision (IE Jewelery)

  • Minimal Post Processing

  • Fast Print Speed

  • Inexpensive printing costs

  • Complex shapes and high variety

  • Can be used as a substitute for injection molding

  • Limited material selection

  • The least part strength offered

  • Printing size capabilities are typically smaller

  • Manual cleaning and curing of parts after printing

  • Requires supports that leave small dimples

  • Tight tolerances and high detail precision (IE Jewelery)

  • Minimal Post Processing

  • Fast Print Speed

  • Inexpensive printing costs

  • Complex shapes and high variety

  • Can be used as a substitute for injection molding

  • Limited material selection

  • The least part strength offered

  • Printing size capabilities are typically smaller

  • Manual cleaning and curing of parts after printing

  • Requires supports that leave small dimples

Selective Laser Sintering(SLS)

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a powder-based 3D printing process that utilizes a laser to fuse material layers into a final part. The laser traces the pattern of each cross section of a 3D design onto a bed of powder. This approach is used for parts requiring a great deal of precise features and extreme strength.

The materials available for SLS enable uses ranging from impact-resistant plastics to styrene-based options that are great for plaster and metal castings. SLS is frequently chosen for low- to mid-volume end-use parts like enclosures, snap-fit parts, automotive moldings, and thin-walled ducting. Some of our SLS engineering plastics are made with flame-retardant materials, enabling them to answer aircraft and consumer product requirements. Glass-filled materials are also available, offering greater stiffness and heat resistance, as well as  fiber-reinforced plastic for ultimate stiffness. SLS also includes material options on the other end of the spectrum, for rubber-like flexible parts, enabling applications like hoses, gaskets, grip padding, and more.

Materials utilized:  Nylon, Onyx, Polypropylene, and Flexibles.

Pros:

  • Very High detail

  • Extreme part strength (IE automotive, aerospace)

  • Requires no supports

  • Production Quality

  • Heat Resistance

Cons:

  • Requires sandblasting / post-processing

  • Slowest Print Time

  • Small build chamber

  • Material Cost

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is an additive manufacturing technology known for its accuracy, speed, and competitive cost. FDM machines precisely heat and extrude melted thermoplastic material(filament) through a very fine nozzle at very precise increments to create a part from the base up. FDM parts can be produced quickly, allowing designers to easily move faster through the product development cycle to iterate and print new design features that can withstand mechanical, thermal and chemical stress.

Materials utilized: PLA, ABS, ASA, PETG, TPU (rubber-like), and Polypropylene.

Pros:

  • Medium-to-Fast Print Speed

  • Cost-Effective

  • On-Demand Preparation

  • Easily modified and customized components

  • Large selection of materials ranging from general-purpose ABS or ASA to high performing polycarbonate and carbon fiber and glass fiber impregnated material.

Cons:

  • Requires post-processing

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