Graphics Programs Reference
In-Depth Information
3D Printing Technologies and Materials
A number of different 3D Printing technologies exist and are universally available. Some are
preferable for rapid prototyping during the development process, whereas others are suited
for rapid manufacturing of production-ready parts. The commonest ones are listed below
and are readily accessible to small manufacturers.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
SLS is arguably the fastest growing 3D Printing technology. SLS polymers include nylon
and polystyrene. Components are built up by laser-fusing layers of powdered material. Al-
though white and off-white are common, a range of colours are available from some SLS
3D Printing systems. Alternatively, SLS components can be painted or dyed. SLS parts are
commonly used as prototype components, although there is scope to use them as production
parts, based on the application. Less common is SLS based ceramic 3D printing. Addition-
ally, selective laser metal sintering (SLMS) is a branch of the same technology, which is
explained below.
Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA)
SLA is a commonly used and popular 3D Printing technique and is regularly used to produce
prototype parts and models. SLA parts are formed when a UV laser solidifies resin layer-
by-layer. Components are typically smooth to the touch and can be painted to finish them.
A drawback is the brittleness of the parts, particularly if banged or dropped. However the
technology is relatively low cost compared to other 3D Printing techniques.
Fused Deposit Modelling (FDM)
FDM is a widely applied 3D Printing technology, routinely used to produce modelling and
prototyping components, and less commonly for production parts. FDM works by laying
down molten plastic, layer-by-layer from a heated nozzle. The material rapidly cools and
hardens. FDM parts often use a secondary support material to reinforce shapes and profiles,
which are unstable until the plastic cools. Typical polymers used for the technology include
ABS and polycarbonate. These thermoplastic polymers can be sanded, drilled, tapped and
painted afterwards. FDM components have a low density option, where thick sections can
Search WWH ::

Custom Search