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FDM and SLA Increase In-House Capabilities

 

Improved Surface Finish

SLA is a great option for highly detailed prototypes requiring tight tolerances and smooth surfaces, such as molds, patterns, and functional parts. SLA  is widely used in a range of industries from engineering and product design to manufacturing, dentistry, jewelry, model making, and education and is known for its fine features, smooth surface finish, ultimate part precision, and accuracy.

Faster Speed Increases Throughput

FDM machines can print with thicker layers and generally use a lower infill which results in fast 3D prints. FDM also has fewer post-processing steps for simple parts. Depending on the project, this means that prints are ready to use soon after they have finished. This is ideal for applications like rapid prototyping, where it allows users to quickly evaluate success and move on to another print or project.

SLA printing materials such as Draft Resin prints up to 40% faster than FDM 3D printers. With a 300-micron layer height, Draft Resin is accurate enough to meet prototyping needs while enabling faster design iterations. Models that take up the entire build volume of an LFS printer can take up to 20 hours to print in standard materials and may require printing overnight. Printing the same part at 300-micron layers with Draft Resin takes less than six hours.

 

Access to Applications and Increased Material Selection

 

 

FDM 3D printers work with a range of standard thermoplastics, such as ABS, PLA, and their various blends. Engineering materials, such as Nylon, PETG, PA, or TPU and high-performance thermoplastics like PEEK or PEI are also available, but often limited to selected professional FDM printers that support them.

SLA resins have the benefit of a wide range of formulation configurations: materials can be soft or hard, heavily filled with materials like glass and ceramic, or imbued with mechanical properties like high heat deflection temperature or impact resistance. Various resin formulations offer a wide range of optical, mechanical, and thermal properties to match those of standard, engineering, and industrial thermoplastics.

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Side by Side Comparison

Each 3D printing technology has its own strengths, weaknesses, and requirements, and is suitable for different applications and businesses. The following table summarizes some key characteristics and considerations.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)Stereolithography (SLA)
Resolution★★☆☆☆★★★★★
Accuracy★★★★☆★★★★★
Surface Finish★★☆☆☆★★★★★
Throughput★★★★☆★★★★☆
Complex Designs★★★☆☆★★★★☆
Ease of Use★★★★★★★★★★

 

 

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