3D print technologies

We use various methods and machines to provide the best solution. Which one is best for you depends on your application.

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SLS

3D_Printed_car_wheels

  • What is the most popular 3D print technology?
    • SLS (Selective Laser Sintering)
  • Why is SLS the most popular 3D print technology?
    • Low price
    • Strong material
    • High resolution (small stepping between layers)
    • Does not brake easily (not brittle)
  • What are down sides of SLS?
    • Rough surface finish
    • Sometimes too flexible/ bendable
FDM

FDM_high_quality_pros_and_cons

  • When to use FDM?
    • FDM is mostly used when you need a very strong prototype which is less flexible then SLS and has a better surface finish then SLS.
  • How is the quality like of FDM? There are really 2 types of FDM. High and low quality.
  • High quality FDM by a professional 3D printer will be very strong and has a very small stepping so the surface finish is very smooth.
  • Why don’t we recommend using cheap 3D printers at home (like the Maker Bot, Peachy Printer, MakiBox or Printrbot) machines?
    • They require lots of attention/ time to operate
    • Inaccurate dimensions (every next model will be different).
    • Uneven surface finish
    • Long time to produce
    • In general low quality
bad_quality_3D_home_printers
SLA
sla_functional_rapid_prototype

  • What is SLA?
    • SLA (Stereolithography) gives possibly the best results to a final product. We can use it as a master model to make a silicon mould which makes it possible to make up to 30 prototypes out of the same mould.

      Advantages:

      • Strength, it is strong enough to be machined afterwards.
      • Solid structure
      • Very smooth surface finish
      • Thinner wall thicknesses possible then SLS

      Disadvantages:

      • Higher price
POLYJET
polyjet_3D_print_shoe_prototype

  • What is polyjet?
    • Polyjet is comparable to SLA that the technique uses a UV resin as well. Difference is that Polyjet has multiple jets, hence the name poly.
  • What is the difference between SLA and Polyjet?
    • Polyjet
      • Has the highest precision out of SLA, FDM and SLS
      • ends to be used for small parts with much small details.
    • SLA
      • Tends to be used for larger prototypes
      • Can be cheaper than Polyjet on large prototypes

Which materials can I 3D print?
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There are many materials, but the majority are all plastics. Yes metals can be 3D printed, but in most cases we would be able to machine your parts for a lot lower prices. Other materials or variations that can be 3D printed:

  • Ceramic are popular because you can print many colours at a relatively low price (cheaper than SLS).
  • What are the advantages of multicolour 3D prints?
    • Full freedom in choices of colour
    • Low price
  • What are the downsides of multicolour 3D prints?
    • Heavy
    • Brittle
    • Rough surface finish
  • Soft rubber at various shore hardness can be printed. Both as a separate part but now also ABS like plastics with rubber combined in the 1 print.
3D_print_rubber_shoe_london