Plastics are a versatile type of material, and as a result, there are many ways of manufacturing with them.
3D printing is no exception, so let’s explore the different methods for product style 3D. The most widely used technologies are FFF 3D printing, SLA (stereolithography), and SLS (selective laser sintering).
What is FFF 3D printing?
An FFF printer extrudes a thick string of material, commonly referred to as filament, through a heated nozzle. The nozzle is mounted on a motion system that moves it around a build area, where the melted filament is deposited onto a build plate.
As the material cools and solidifies, the build plate moves down by a fraction of a millimeter layer by layer until the object is complete.
What is SLA 3D printing?
SLA 3D printing uses a UV-curable resin as raw material. The resin is poured into a glass-bottomed container, into which a build platform is submerged.
A laser shines UV light on the resin to selectively harden a cross-section of the required shape. The platform gradually raises out of the container to build up the print.
What is SLS 3D printing?
SLS 3D printing uses a powdered raw material, typically a polymer. The powder sits in a container, where a blade distributes a thin layer of material onto the build area.
A laser fuses the small particles of material together to form a single horizontal layer of the part, then the container then moves a fraction of a millimeter to start a new layer, and the blade swipes across the build area to deposit a new layer of raw material. This process repeats to create the finished object.