Improved Surface Finish
FDM 3D printers form layers by depositing lines of molten material, which makes it unable to reproduce intricate details that other technologies can offer.
SLA is a great option for highly detailed prototypes requiring tight tolerances and smooth surfaces, such as molds, patterns, and functional parts. They are known for 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. This is ideal for applications like rapid prototyping.
SLA printing materials such as Draft Resin prints up to 40% faster on the Form 3 than FDM 3D printers. With a 300-micron layer height, Draft Resin is accurate enough to meet prototyping needs while enabling faster design iterations.
FDM and SLA Increase In-House Capabilties
Combined Technology Workflow Enables New Treatments for Cardiovascular Disease
"I utilize both SLA and FDM 3D printing in my tissue-engineering research. Formlabs SLA technology delivers high precision, producing excellent quality parts, first time. FDM provides access to a different range of materials, as this process is based on melting material, rather than chemically cross-linking it. This enables alternative processing options, like 3D printing soluble parts. Combining SLA and FDM 3D printing is enabling me to grow blood vessels, of any shape, in the lab to deliver new treatments for cardiovascular disease." Dr. Sam Pashneh-Tala, Research Fellow, The University of Sheffield
Compare SLA and FDM Side by Side
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)|
|Ease of Use||★★★★★||★★★★★|
Have questions about how SLA and FDM Compare?
“The Form 3 … is a sophisticated printer that can produce excellent quality prints with little maintenance or tweaking, making it a great pick for those who want to do a lot of printing without hassle… The Form 3 just works.” Tom’s Guide
“The Form 3 makes printing as fast, if not faster than comparable fused filament fabrication 3D printers not only possible but reliable and repeatable.” All3DP
"[The Form 3] is an SLA 3D printer that delivers incredible quality. In the world of 3D printers, this has all the bells and whistles you could ask for to ensure that you actually get successful prints." Make Magazine