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What Are the Different Types of 3D Printing?

In this article, Mr. Amit Kothari discusses different types of 3D printing and its processes.
3d printed human heart
© Labdox Private Limited

The term 3D printing encompasses several manufacturing technologies that build parts layer-by-layer. Each varies in the way they form plastic and metal parts and can differ in material selection, surface finish, durability, and manufacturing speed and cost.

There are several types of 3D printing, which include:

  • Stereolithography (SLA)
  • Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
  • Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
  • Digital Light Process (DLP)
  • Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)
  • PolyJet
  • Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
  • Electron Beam Melting (EBM)

Types of 3D Printing and Its Processes

3D printing is becoming the future of the manufacturing era. This is because there are many different processes which are suitable for a different type of materials. A few of them are mentioned below.


It is the world’s first 3D printing innovation introduced by Chuck Hull in 1986. It works by a 3D printing technique called Vat Polymerization where a material called a photopolymer gum specifically restored by a light source. Stereolithography (SLA) is the first modern 3D printing measure. SLA printers dominate at delivering elevated levels of detail, smooth surface completions, and tight resistances. The quality surface completions on SLA parts look decent. It’s generally utilized in the clinical business and basic applications incorporate anatomical models and microfluidics. In particular, an SLA printer utilizes mirrors, called galvanometers. One is situated on the X-pivot, the other on the Y-hub. These point to the purpose of a laser pillar across the tank of gum, specifically relieving and setting a cross-part of the item in the forming zone, developing it layer by layer.

SLA is a quick prototyping measure where exactness and accuracy are taken seriously. It can create objects from 3D CAD information in only a couple of hours. This is a 3D printing measure its fine subtleties and precision by changing over fluid photopolymers (a unique kind of plastic) into strong 3D items, each layer in turn. The plastic is initially warmed to transform it into a semi-fluid structure, and afterward, it solidifies on contact. The printer develops every one of these layers utilizing a bright laser, coordinated by X and Y filtering mirrors. A recoater sharp edge also gets across the surface right before the next step to guarantee each thin layer of gum spreads equitably across the article. The print cycle proceeds thusly, building 3D items from the base up. When finished, the 3D part will typically have a synthetic shower to eliminate an overabundance. It’s additionally basic practice to post-fix the article in a bright broiler. This makes the product more grounded and more steady.

SLA printing has gotten support from many assortments of ventures. A portion of these incorporate auto, clinical, aviation, diversion, and furthermore to make different customer items. Printers that are used are Vipers, ProJets, and iPros 3D printers fabricated by 3D Systems.

Specific laser sintering (SLS)

SLS softens together nylon-based powders into strong plastic. Since SLS parts are produced using genuine thermoplastic material, they are tough, reasonable for utilitarian testing, and can uphold living pivots and snap-fits. In contrast with SL, parts are more grounded, yet have harsher surface completions. SLS doesn’t need help structures so the entire form stage can be used to settle various parts into a solitary form—making it appropriate for part amounts higher than other 3D printing measures. Numerous SLS parts are utilized to model plans that will one day be infusion-shaped.

It utilizes a 3D printing measure called Power Bed Fusion. A container of thermoplastic powder (Nylon 6, Nylon 11, Nylon 12) is warmed simply beneath its liquefying point. At that point, a recoating or wiper sharp edge stores a meager layer of the powder – generally 0.1 mm thick – onto the forming stage. A laser bar starts examining the surface, where it specifically ‘sinters’ the powder, which means it hardens a cross-part of the article. Likewise, with SLA, the laser is centered around an area by a couple of galvos. When the whole cross-segment is filtered, the stage drops somewhere near one thickness of layer stature and the entire cycle is rehashed until the item is completely made. Powder that isn’t sintered remaining parts set up supporting the item that has been sintered, dispensing with the requirement to support structures. Not many of the applications for SLS are the assembling of practical parts, complex ducting requiring empty plans, and low-run creation. Its qualities are in the production of utilitarian parts, which leaves behind great mechanical properties, and with complex calculations. SLS is restricted by requiring longer lead times and its greater expense when contrasted and FDM/FFF.


PolyJet is another plastic 3D printing measure, yet there’s a curve. It can create various parts with different properties, for example, tones and materials. Architects can use the innovation for prototyping elastomeric or over-molded parts.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) aka Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)

An FDM printer works by expelling a plastic fiber layer-by-layer onto the forming stage. It’s a savvy and fast strategy for delivering actual models. There are a few occasions when FDM can be utilized for practical testing however the innovation is restricted because of parts having generally harsh surface completes and lacking strength. It is a 3D printing innovation that utilizes a cycle called Material Extrusion. Material Extrusion gadgets are accessible and reasonable of all. They work by a cycle where a spool of a fiber of strong thermoplastic material (PLA, ABS, PET) is stacked into the 3D printer. It is then pushed by an engine through a warmed spout, where it liquefies. The printer’s expulsion head at that point moves along explicit directions, keeping the 3D printing material on a form stage where the printer fiber cools and cements, shaping a strong item. When the layer is finished, the printer sets out another layer, until the item is complete. Basic applications for FDM incorporate electrical lodgings, structure and fit testings, jigs and fixtures, and investment casting patterns. The best part about FDM is that it offers the best surface completion in addition to full tone alongside the reality there are different materials accessible for its utilization.

Digital Light Process (DLP)

DLP has quicker print times than SLA in light of the fact that each layer is uncovered at the same time, rather than following the cross-part of a zone with the purpose of a laser. Regular applications for SLA and DLP are infusion shape type polymer models, adornments, dental applications, and amplifiers. They have fine element subtleties and smooth surface completion. They are restricted by being weak, in this way unsatisfactory for use as mechanical parts.

Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)

Multi Jet Fusion assembles utilitarian parts from nylon powder. As opposed to utilizing a laser to sinter the powder, MJF utilizes an inkjet cluster to apply melding specialists to the bed of nylon powder. At that point, a warming component disregards the bed to combine each layer. This outcome in more predictable mechanical properties contrasted with SLS just as improved surface completion. Another advantage of the MJF cycle is the quickened fabricate time, which prompts lower creation costs. MJ differs from other types of 3D printing technologies that deposit, sinter, or cure build material with point-wise deposition. Instead, the print head jets hundreds of droplets of photopolymer and cures/solidifies them using UV light. Once a layer is deposited and cured, the build platform lowers by one layer thickness, and the process is repeated until the 3D object is built. Another difference from 3D printing technologies is instead of using a single point to follow a path that outlines the cross-sectional layer, MJ machines deposit build material in a fast, line-wise manner. Articles made with MJ need help during printing and are printed all the while during the form cycle with a dissolvable material that is taken out in post-handling. MJ is one of the solitary sorts of 3D printing innovation that can make objects produced using numerous materials and with full tone. The advantage to this is MJ printers can fabricate multiple objects in a single line without affecting build speed. As long as the models are arranged correctly with optimal spacing, MJ can produce parts faster than other types of 3D printers. Hence, there are multiple processes for multiple projects, selecting the best suitable process is of utmost importance

© Labdox Private Limited
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An Introduction to Digital Manufacturing and 3D Printing

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