SLA vs. DFM: The Different In Printing Methods

sla vs fdm

SLA vs. DFM: The Different In Printing Methods 

3D printing refers to the process of converting a virtual/digital model into a physical model. There are various categories of 3D printing technology, but the most famous ones are FDM and SLA. FDM stands for Fused Deposition Modeling. It is also known as FFF – Fused Filament Fabrication. On the other hand, SLA is the abbreviation for Stereo Lithography Apparatus. Both methods are equally popular yet completely unique to each other. Each technology has its own techniques, benefits, cons, results, and applications. In this blog, we will dive deep and talk about the most famous 3D printing feud, FDM vs. SLA. 

The Difference in Printing Methods 

FDM – Fused Deposition Modeling

Generally, when we talk about 3D printing, we talk about FDM. It is the most famous and the most common type of 3D printing. The technology is affordable, user friendly, and reliable. It allows creating layers that attach to each other and form a 3D model. The layers are connected with fused wires. 

In FDM, the printer requires input data. The data is inputted via a 3D model file containing the information about how the models need to be cut into layers. Several tools, including Simplify3D, Slic3r, and Cura, are available in the market. The extension of the 3D model file is either.OBJ or.STL. 

SL – Stereo Lithography Apparatus

In this technique, models are manufactured in the form of layers just like FDM. However, instead of plastic filament, this technique uses a liquid resin substance. The resin turns into a solid form when exposed to certain light radiation. 

In the case of SLA, models can be printed with fine details. The layers in this technique are formed quickly, and their thickness is less than one hundred microns. Instead of fused wires, the layers are connected to each other chemically. 

Materials And Colours

When we talk about FDM vs. SLA, we must talk about the materials involved and the manufacturing cost. As FDM is the most common technique, numerous materials are available for it. The most common materials used in FDM printing are PLA, PETG, and ABS. Other filaments like Ultem, PEEK, TPU, PVA, TPU, and mixtures of metal, ceramics, wood, carbon, and fibres can also be used in special cases. In FDM, you can choose any colour. 

In the case of the SLA technique, the materials are exclusive. This means that you cannot use SLA printing material from another manufacturer. Each designer creates their own material set for SLA printing. The colour choice is also quite limited when compared with FDM. You can only choose cyan, magenta, white, black, yellow. 

Printing Quality

In the FDM printing technique, the accuracy of the system is directed by the size of the nozzle and the accuracy of the extruder movement both horizontally and vertically. 

That’s why it is crucial to calibrate the system properly. The quality of FDM printing depends entirely on the quality of the machine. FDM printer can operate from the ground up. This means that the upper layers’ weight compresses the lower ones. This may lead to errors and problems. In the case of FDM, the layer thickness ranges from 0.5 to 0.127 mm. 

As no nozzle is required to create layers in SLA printing, achieving higher rigidity and accuracy is easy. The resolution is primarily determined by the size of the optical dot of the source of light that is very small. Less force is required for the model during printing. It is because the light is applied for polymerization. The layer thickness in the case of SLA ranges from 0.05 to 0.01mm. 

Advantages & Disadvantages

FDM – Fused Deposition Modeling  

Advantages 

  • FDM is generally faster. 
  • These printers are available in huge sizes for heavy-duty work. 
  • They are affordable. 
  • They are inexpensive and widely available. 
  • They are easy to operate and perfect for learning 3D printing. 

Disadvantages

  • They should be used in a ventilated environment. 
  • The printing quality depends on the machine. 
  • Calibration is a requirement to make the printing precise and accurate. 

SLA – Stereo Lithography Apparatus

Advantages 

  • They are simply plug_and_play. 
  • The results are smoother and don’t require sanding. 
  • Layers are bonded chemically, allowing extra mechanical strength. 
  • They are perfect for producing highly complex and detailed designs. 

Disadvantages

  • They are expensive
  • Material and colour choice is limited
  • They are not easy to use. 

Contact Cad Deziners For 3D Printing Services

We at Cad Deziners provide the best FDM and SLA 3D printing services in Australia. We have been working in the 3D printing industry for years and have earned a reputation for being the best. Our employees are professional individuals, and thanks to their years of experience, they can help you choose the best 3D printing technology as per your requirements. So, contact Cad Deziners and get the best SLA and FDM 3D printing services in Australia. 

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