Types Of 3D Printing: How To Choose The Best Process For Your Project

by Tracy Jackson

Last Updated on June 15, 2022 by Tracy Jackson

types of 3d printing

Here is your ultimate guide to 3D printing technology.

In this guide, you will learn about:

  • the basic steps involved in the 3D printing process,
  • the different types of 3D printing technologies, and
  • how to choose the right process for your 3D printing projects.

 

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

What Are The Different Types Of 3D Printing?

1. Vat Polymerization

There are two types of vat polymerization: stereolithography (SLA) and digital light processing (DLP).

In both cases, a UV-curable resin is used.

With SLA, an ultraviolet (UV light) laser is used to draw the desired image onto the surface of the resin.

The DLP process uses a projector to project the image onto the surface of the resin.

Both SLA and DLP are great for creating highly detailed prints.

However, SLA is generally more expensive than DLP. It is also worth noting that both processes require the use of a support structure.

This support structure must be removed after printing is complete.

A. Stereolithography (SLA)

Stereolithography is an additive manufacturing technology that works by curing a photosensitive resin with a UV laser.

The laser is used to draw the part layer-by-layer, creating a three-dimensional object.

Types of 3d printing - Stereolithography (SLA) printer

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SLA is well-suited for producing highly accurate and intricate parts with smooth surfaces.

It can be used to create prototypes and functional parts from a wide range of materials, including clear and opaque plastics, rubbers, and waxes.

SLA is one of the most popular types of additive manufacturing technology due to its accuracy, versatility, and affordability.

If you’re looking for a high-quality prototyping or production process, SLA is an excellent option to consider.

Pros
  • SLA is an additive manufacturing process that uses a laser to cure photopolymer resins into solid three-dimensional objects.
  • It is considered one of the most accurate methods of Additive Manufacturing with resolutions as low as 0.025 mm (0.001 in).
  • SLA offers a wide range of material properties, including clear, flexible, and biocompatible options.
Cons
  • One of the cons of stereolithography is that it is one of the more expensive technologies available, with machines costing upwards of $100 thousand.
  • Another drawback to SLA is that it can be slower than other processes like FDM or SLS.

 

Despite the higher cost and slower speed, many users prefer SLA for its high accuracy and range of material options.

If you need a highly accurate part with specific material properties, stereolithography may be the right process for your project.

B. Digital Light Processing (DLP)

Digital Light Processing is additive manufacturing (AM) technology used for producing prototypes and manufactured goods.

AM technologies build objects by successively adding material layer-by-layer.

Digital Light Processing (DLP) printer

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DLP belongs to the category of vat photopolymerization, which uses light to solidify a liquid resin.

In DLP, projection systems are used to display entire cross-sections of a part at once.

The build platform is lowered into the vat of liquid resin, and as it is exposed to light, the material solidifies and bonds to the thin layer below it.

DLP systems use an array of mirrors to direct light from a projector onto the build platform.

As each cross-section is displayed, the build platform is lowered incrementally and exposed to light until the entire part is built.

Pros
  • They are fast, with print times generally ranging from a few minutes to a few hours;
  • They can produce highly detailed parts with smooth surfaces;
  • And they are relatively low-cost.
Cons
  • They typically have a smaller build envelope than other AM technologies;
  • They require the use of support structures to prevent parts from collapsing during the build process;
  • And they can be difficult to use for large or complex parts.

C. Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP)

Continuous Liquid Interface Production works by projecting light through an oxygen-permeable film into a pool of resin.

As the light solidifies the polymer, it also cross-links the individual chains together to create a stronger material.

Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) Process

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This process is often used for prototypes and small-batch production due to its speed and accuracy.

Additionally, CLIP offers a wide range of materials that can be used, including flexible and transparent options.

If you’re looking for a fast, accurate, and versatile option for your next project, CLIP might be the right choice for you.

Keep reading to learn more about this exciting technology!

Pros
  • CLIP is a fast and accurate way to create prototypes or small batches of parts.
  • It offers a wide range of materials, including flexible and transparent options.
  • Additionally, CLIP is constantly being improved and updated, so you can be sure you’re using the latest technology.
Cons
  • CLIP requires special resins that can be expensive.
  • Additionally, the process can be messy and require special equipment.
  • Finally, CLIP is a relatively new technology, so there are not as many providers or experts as there are for other methods.

 

If you’re looking for a fast, accurate, and versatile option for your next project, CLIP might be the right choice for you.

Keep reading to learn more about this exciting technology!

2. Material Extrusion

Material extrusion is the most common type of technology used in consumer-grade printers.

It works by pushing melted plastic filament through a small nozzle.

The molten plastic then cools and hardens almost immediately, allowing the printer to create layer-by-layer objects from a digital model.

A. Fused deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)

FDM printers are the most popular type of consumer-grade printer.

They work by melting plastic filament and extruding it through a small nozzle.

The molten plastic then cools and hardens, allowing the printer to create layer-by-layer objects from a computer model.

Fused deposition modelling (FDM) Printing system

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Pros
  • FDM printers are available in both kit form and as ready-to-use machines.
  • They range in price from around $200 to $2000, making them the most affordable type of consumer-grade printer.
  • FDM printers are also relatively easy to use, making them a good choice for beginners.
Cons
  • One downside of FDM printers is that they tend to be slower than other types of printers.
  • They also have a limited range of materials that can be used, with PLA and ABS being the most common. However, new materials are being developed all the time, so this may not be a problem for long.

3. Powder Bed Fusion (PBF)

Powder Bed Fusion is an additive manufacturing (AM) process that uses a laser to melt and fuse metallic powder particles together.

PBF is one of the most popular methods for fabricating metal parts, as it can produce highly detailed and accurate parts with excellent surface finish quality.

PBF is also well-suited for creating complex geometries and parts with internal cavities or voids.

If you are looking for a versatile, high-quality metal printing process, powder bed fusion could be the right choice for your project.

Pros
  • Powder Bed Fusion is one of the most versatile types of additive manufacturing processes. It can be used to create parts from a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, and ceramics.
  • PBF can also be used to create parts with complex geometries that would be difficult or impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing methods.
  • PBF is a relatively fast additive manufacturing process, with some machines capable of producing parts in minutes or hours.
Cons
  • Powder Bed Fusion can be a costly additive manufacturing process, due to the high price of powdered material and the cost of the equipment.
  • PBF can also be a time-consuming process, as parts must be carefully placed in the build chamber and monitored during the printing process.
  • PBF is not well suited for mass production, as the process is typically limited to small batch sizes.
  • Powder Bed Fusion can be a messy process, as the build chamber must be regularly cleaned to prevent clogging.

A. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

Selective Laser Sintering is an additive manufacturing technology that uses a laser to fuse together small particles of plastic, metal, ceramic, or glass powders into a solid three-dimensional object.

Scheme of selective laser sintering (SLS) technique. The laser selectively fuses 

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The object is built up layer by layer from a digital file.

SLS is well suited for mass production and prototyping because it can create complex shapes with little or no support material.

It is also one of the most versatile technologies, able to print with a wide range of materials.

Pros
  • SLS is a very versatile process, capable of printing in a wide range of materials
  • SLS can produce parts with very complex geometries
  • SLS parts have good mechanical properties and can be used in demanding applications

 

One advantage is that SLS can be used to print objects with very intricate designs.

Another advantage is that SLS can be used to print objects with very smooth surfaces.

Finally, SLS systems are typically much faster than other types of additive manufacturing technology.

Cons
  • SLS can be more expensive than other processes
  • SLS parts can have rough surfaces
  • SLS requires the use of support structures which must be removed after printing

 

If you’re looking for a versatile, high-quality printing process, selective laser sintering (SLS) is a great option.

However, it’s important to be aware of the potential disadvantages of SLS, such as higher costs and the need for support structures.

Weighing the pros and cons carefully will help you choose the best process for your project.

B. Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

Direct Metal Laser Sintering is an additive manufacturing process that uses a high-power laser to fuse small particles of metal together.

The result is a near-net-shape part with very little waste material.

direct metal laser sintering (DMLS)

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DMLS is well suited for producing parts with complex geometries or intricate details that would be difficult to manufacture using traditional machining methods.

It can also be used to produce parts with multiple material properties, such as conductive and non-conductive areas on the same part.

Pros
  • The process is very versatile, able to create parts from a variety of metals including aluminum, cobalt chrome, nickel alloys, and titanium.
  • DMLS produces strong, precise parts with an excellent surface finish.
  • It is well suited for small batch production or prototyping.
Cons
  • The process is expensive, making it less ideal for large production runs.
  • The process can be slow, making it less ideal for time-sensitive projects.
  • DMLS requires special equipment and trained personnel, making it less accessible than some other methods.

 

If you’re looking for a versatile, precise, and strong method of printing metal parts or other functional metal objects, Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) is a great option.

If you are considering using DMLS for your next project, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • DMLS is best suited for small batch sizes or prototyping applications.
  • The cost of DMLS can be higher than other additive manufacturing processes, due to the high-power laser and specialized equipment required.
  • Parts made with DMLS can have very tight tolerances and excellent surface finish quality.
  • DMLS is not well suited for large parts or applications where strength is critical, as the metal parts made with this process can be brittle.

 

If you are looking for a versatile additive manufacturing process that can produce high-quality parts, DMLS is a good option to consider.

Just keep in mind the limitations of the process and how they might impact your project.

C. Selective Laser Melting (SLM)

Selective Laser Melting is a type of additive manufacturing technology used for creating metal parts from powder.

SLM works by melting and fusing together small particles of metal powder using a high-powered laser beam.

The laser selectively melts the powder in areas where the final part will be built up, layer by layer.

selective laser melting (SLM)

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SLM is similar to other additive manufacturing processes like selective laser sintering (SLS), but there are some key differences.

One of the most significant is that, with SLM, the entire powder bed is melted and fused together during each layer, whereas with SLS only the areas where the final part will be built up are melted and fused together.

Pros
  • Can create highly complex shapes
  • Alloys and metals can be printed
  • Prints are very strong and have high mechanical properties
  • Very precise
Cons
  • One of the more expensive processes
  • Limited to small prints
  • Not ideal for mass production

 

When deciding on which type of process is best for your project, it is important to consider what kind of object you are looking to create.

If you need a strong, precise print made from metal or an alloy, SLM is a great option.

However, it can be expensive and is not well suited for large prints or mass production.

D. Multi-Jet Fusion (MJF)

Multi-Jet Fusion is a type of powder metal powder bed fusion technology that uses multiple jets to deposit droplets of liquid onto a layer of powder.

The liquid quickly evaporates, leaving behind small particles that fuse together when exposed to high temperatures.

Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)

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MJF is well-suited for producing large quantities of parts with consistent quality, making it a popular choice for manufacturers who need to produce large numbers of parts quickly and efficiently.

The material jetting process is also a good choice for applications where accuracy and detail are important, such as in the medical and aerospace industries.

Pros
  • Speed: MJF is one of the fastest types of additive manufacturing, with print speeds up to 100 times faster than other processes.
  • Quality: MJF prints have a high degree of accuracy and repeatability.
  • Cost: MJF is generally more cost-effective than other additive manufacturing processes, especially for large production runs.
Cons
  • Complexity: MJF is a complex process that requires specialized equipment and materials.
  • Limited Materials: MJF can only be used with a limited number of materials.
  • High Initial Cost: The initial cost of MJF equipment and materials can be prohibitive for some companies.

 

Despite the high initial cost, MJF is generally a more cost-effective option for companies that need to produce large quantities of parts.

The speed and quality of MJF prints make it a good choice for companies that need quick turnaround times and high-quality parts.

However, the complexity of the MJF process means that it is not always the best choice for small businesses or companies that need to produce parts in a wide range of materials.

E. High-Speed Sintering (HSS)

High-Speed Sintering is a type of selective laser sintering (SLS) that uses a lower energy density laser to selectively fuse powder particles.

The result is a denser, stronger part with better dimensional accuracy compared to traditional SLS.

High Speed Sintering

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HSS is ideal for applications that require high strength and durability, such as functional prototypes and end-use parts.

It can also be used to produce complex geometries that would otherwise be impossible to manufacture using other methods.

Pros
  • HSS is a very fast process, with layer times as low as one second.
  • It can print at high resolutions, down to 20 microns.
  • It has a large build envelope, making it ideal for larger parts.
  • It can print in multiple materials, including metals and ceramics.
Cons
  • HSS is a relatively new technology, and as such, it is still quite expensive.
  • It requires specialized equipment and materials, which can be difficult to source.
  • It has a limited range of material properties that can be achieved.

F. Electronic Beam Melting (EBM)

Electronic Beam Melting is an additive manufacturing process that uses an electron beam as its energy source.

EBM is similar to other melting processes like selective laser melting (SLM) and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), but the use of an electron beam offers some advantages.

Electron Beam Melting (EBM)

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EBM systems have a higher build rate than SLM and DMLS systems and can produce parts with a smoother surface finish.

Additionally, EBM systems can accommodate a wider range of materials than SLM or DMLS.

If you’re considering using EBM for your next project, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, EBM is best suited for small- to medium-sized parts.

Second, the build envelope of an EBM system is typically smaller than that of an SLM or DMLS system.

Finally, EBM systems are more expensive than SLM or DMLS systems.

If you’re looking for a high-quality, high-speed additive manufacturing process, EBM may be the right choice for you.

Pros
  • EBM is capable of printing high-strength metals such as titanium alloys, cobalt chrome, and Inconel.
  • The process is well suited for larger parts or products.
  • EBM can print very detailed parts with a high degree of accuracy.
Cons
  • The EBM process is slower than other methods of additive manufacturing.
  • EBM is a more expensive process than some of the others.
  • There are fewer EBM machines in operation than other types of additive manufacturing processes.

 

If you’re looking for a high-strength metal to be printed, or if accuracy and detail are important to your project, then EBM might be the best process for you.

However, keep in mind that it is a slower and more expensive process.

You may also have difficulty finding an EBM machine, as they are not as common as some of the other types of additive manufacturing.

4. Material Jetting (MJ)

Material Jetting is a type of technology used in some types of desktop and industrial printers.

In this process, droplets of material are deposited onto a build platform where they solidify almost instantly.

Schematic of the metal AM processes: (A) nanoparticle jetting; (B) binder jetting; (C) Laser engineered net shaping; (D) electron beam wire feed; and (E) laser or electron beam powder bed fusion. (Data from Refs. 11,12,15,16 )

This process is well suited for printing models with multiple colors or materials because the print head can be changed on the fly.

MJ printers typically have a very high resolution and can produce very detailed prints.

However, they are also generally slower than other types of printers and the build platform must be heated to prevent warping.

Pros
  • Can print in multiple colors and materials
  • Prints at high resolutions
  • Low cost per part
Cons
  • Parts can take a long time to print
  • Not as widely available as other processes like FDM or SLA

 

If you need a printer that can handle multiple colors or materials, then Material Jetting might be the right technology for you.

Just keep in mind that it is generally a slower process than other types of printing.

A. PolyJetting (PJ)

PolyJetting is a type of additive manufacturing technology used to create prototypes and production parts from a range of materials.

It works by depositing material onto a build platform in layers, using an inkjet print head.

The PolyJet

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PJ is similar to other types of additive manufacturing, such as stereolithography (SLA) and fused deposition modeling (FDM), but offers a number of advantages.

One advantage of PJ is that it can print with multiple materials, including plastics, metals, and composites.

This makes it ideal for creating complex parts with multiple features and properties.

Another advantage of PJ is that it can print at high resolutions, making it ideal for creating detailed prototypes and production parts.

Pros
  • Can produce multi-material parts with high accuracy and detail
  • Relatively fast print times
Cons
  • More expensive than other processes
  • Complex geometry can be difficult to produce

 

If you’re looking for a versatile, high-quality printing process for your next project, PJ might be the right choice for you.

B. NanoParticle Jetting (NPJ)

NanoParticle Jetting is a type of material jetting technology that uses inkjet print heads to deposit droplets of nanoparticles onto a substrate.

The nanoparticles are then fused together using heat or light to create a three-dimensional object.

NPJ is similar to other types of material jetting, such as PolyJet and MultiJet Printing (MJP), but uses smaller droplets and more precise print heads.

This makes it ideal for printing small, intricate parts with a perfectly flat surface.

NPJ is also one of the fastest types of material jetting, making it a good choice for prototyping or small-scale production runs.

If you need to produce small, detailed parts quickly, NanoParticle Jetting could be the ideal technology for your project.

Talk to a qualified additive manufacturing service provider to learn more about this and other types of material jetting.

Pros
  • The nanoparticles used in NPJ are typically made from metals, ceramics, or plastics, which means that parts can be made from a wide range of materials.
  • NPJ is one of the fastest types of material jetting, making it a good choice for prototyping or small-scale production runs.
  • The technology is capable of producing parts with smooth surfaces and intricate details.
Cons
  • The process is still relatively new, so there are fewer NPJ machines on the market than other types of printers.
  • NPJ machines can be more expensive than other types of printers.
  • The process is not well suited for printing large objects.

C. Drop On Demand (DOD)

Drop On Demand is a type of technology used in inkjet printers.

The word “drop” refers to the small droplets of ink that are released from the print head onto the paper.

“On-demand” means that the printer only releases ink when it is needed, which makes this type of printing very efficient.

DOD printers are often used for printing high-quality images or photographs.

The ink droplets that are released from the print head are very small, which allows for a lot of detail to be captured in the final image.

This type of printer is also very good at printing on different types of paper, including glossy and matte finishes.

Pros
  • The process is relatively simple
  • It is versatile and can be used to create a wide variety of objects
  • DOD printers are generally less expensive than other types of AM printers
Cons
  • The quality of DOD printed objects is generally not as high as objects printed with other methods
  • DOD printing is slower than some other methods of AM printing
  • The objects that can be printed with DOD are generally limited to small, simple objects. Complex objects or large objects cannot be printed with this method.

 

If you are looking for a simple, versatile, and relatively inexpensive way to print objects, then DOD is a good option.

5. Binder Jetting (BJ)

Binder jetting is one of the oldest types of additive manufacturing processes, dating back to the 1980s.

In this process, a binding agent is selectively deposited onto powder particles.

The binder can be in liquid or solid form.

Once the binder has been applied, the build platform lowers and another layer of powder is deposited on top.

This process is repeated until the desired part has been built up.

Binder jetting is well suited for large-scale production and can be used to produce parts from a variety of materials, including metals, plastics, and ceramics.

Pros
  • BJ is one of the most versatile processes, allowing for a wide range of materials to be printed
  • Prints at high speeds, making it ideal for mass production
  • Produces parts with very smooth surfaces
Cons
  • It is not as strong as some other processes (such as SLS)
  • It can be more expensive than other processes
  • Not all materials can be printed with BJ (such as metals)

 

If you’re looking for a fast, automated additive manufacturing process that can be used to produce large quantities of parts, binder jetting may be the right choice for your project.

However, if you need parts with high strength or a good surface finish, you may want to consider another additive manufacturing process.

A. Sand Binder Jetting

Sand Binder Jetting is a powder-based process that uses binders to adhere particles of sand together.

The build area is first coated with a layer of adhesive material, and then the desired amount of sand is deposited onto the build platform.

Sand Binder Jetting

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A print head then selectively applies binding agents to the sand in order to adhere the particles together and create the desired model or object.

This type of printing is well-suited for creating models or prototypes that need to be strong and durable, as the sand gives the finished product a high level of strength and stability.

Additionally, Sand Binder Jetting is one of the most versatile types of powder-based printing, as it can create objects with smooth surfaces or with more intricate, detailed designs.

Pros
  • SBJ is a very versatile technology that can be used to print in a wide range of materials, including metals.
  • It is capable of printing in very high resolutions, making it ideal for producing small, detailed parts.
  • SBJ is a relatively fast process, making it great for production runs where speed is important.
Cons
  • SBJ can be a bit messy, as the binder material can get everywhere during printing.
  • The process is not well suited for large parts, as the build area is relatively small.
  • SBJ can be a bit expensive, as it requires special materials and equipment.

 

If you’re looking for a type of powder-based printing that can create strong, durable models or prototypes, Sand Binder Jetting may be the best option for your project.

This versatile printing process can create smooth, detailed objects from a variety of materials.

B. Metal Binder Jetting

Metal Binder Jetting is a process that uses a binding agent to adhere powder particles together.

The advantage of this process is that it can create parts with very intricate designs.

However, the downside is that the final part will be less strong than if it were made with another process.

Pros
  • Metal Binder Jetting can print in a wide range of materials, including metals.
  • It is a fast process, which makes it ideal for prototyping and small production runs.
  • The prints have a high degree of accuracy and detail.
  • It is less expensive than other metal printing processes.
Cons
  • The prints can have a porous surface, which may require post-processing.
  • There is a limited range of materials that can be used with Metal Binder Jetting.
  • It is not suitable for large production runs.
  • The process is slower than other metal printing processes.

 

If you are looking for a way to create strong metal parts with intricate designs, metal binder jetting may be the right process for you.

However, if you need a stronger part, you may want to consider another process.

C. Plastic Binder Jetting

Plastic Binder Jetting is a type of additive manufacturing technology used to create parts and prototypes from a range of materials.

The process works by depositing material in layers onto a build platform. Each layer is bonded together using an adhesive or binder.

This type of printing is well suited for creating large, complex parts with smooth surfaces.

It is also one of the most versatile types of additive manufacturing, as it can be used with a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, ceramics, and composites.

Pros
  • Can print at high resolutions
  • Excellent for creating smooth surfaces
  • It is ideal for printing large objects
  • Versatile material options
Cons
  • One of the slower processes
  • Not as strong as some other methods
  • Some materials can be costly

 

If you’re looking for a versatile and reliable printing process for your next project, plastic binder jetting could be the perfect solution.

6. Direct Energy Deposition (DED)

Directed energy deposition (DED) is another type of additive manufacturing process that can be used to create three-dimensional parts.

In this process, a focused beam of energy is used to melt and deposit materials onto a build platform.

The material is typically in the form of powder or wire and is fed into the build area through a nozzle.

directed energy deposition

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DED systems can be classified as either laser-based or electron beam-based.

Laser-based systems use a high-powered laser to melt the material, while electron beam-based systems use a beam of high-energy electrons.

DED is typically used for larger parts, or for parts that require a high degree of accuracy and repeatability.

It is also well suited for repairing existing parts or creating complex geometries.

Pros
  • DED is capable of printing with a wide range of metals, alloys, and composites. This makes it ideal for prototyping and small-scale production runs.
  • The process is relatively fast, making it possible to produce parts in a shorter time frame than other methods.
  • DED systems are typically less expensive than other types of additive manufacturing systems.
Cons
  • The build area is typically smaller than with other processes, making it less ideal for large parts or projects.
  • DED systems can be more difficult to operate than other types of additive manufacturing systems.
  • The process can produce a lot of heat, which can cause distortion and warping of parts.

 

In order to choose the best type of additive manufacturing process for your project, it is important to understand the pros and cons of each type of system.

DED systems have a number of advantages, but there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.

Ultimately, the decision of which type of system to use will come down to the specific needs of your project.

If you need a fast turnaround time and are working with small parts, then DED may be the right choice for you.

If you are working with large parts or need a high degree of accuracy, then another type of system may be a better fit.

A. Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS)

Laser Engineered Net Shaping is a type of additive manufacturing technology that uses a high-power laser to fuse metal powder into three-dimensional shapes.

LENS is similar to other powder bed fusion processes, such as selective laser melting (SLM) and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), but with some key differences.

LENS is able to create parts with much higher levels of accuracy and detail than other powder bed fusion processes.

This is due to the fact that the laser in a LENS system can be moved in three dimensions, allowing for greater control over the shape of the final part.

LENS is also capable of creating parts with very complex geometries that would be difficult or impossible to produce using other methods.

This makes LENS an ideal choice for applications where parts must meet very tight tolerances or have unique features.

Although LENS is a relatively new technology, it is already being used in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, and medical.

Pros
  • Can print metals, alloys, and ceramics
  • Precise control over the building envelope
  • Flexible in design and function
  • A highly repeatable process
Cons
  • More expensive than other processes
  • The building envelope is smaller than some other processes
  • It can be difficult to find the right service bureau
  • Some materials can be challenging to print

 

If you’re looking for a precise, reliable, and versatile option for your next project, then Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) is a great choice.

B. Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM)

Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing or Electron Beam Melting is a type of additive manufacturing that uses an electron beam to melt and fuse the metal powder together.

It is similar to other additive manufacturing processes like selective laser melting (SLM) and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), but there are some key differences that make EBAM ideal for certain applications.

EBAM can be used to create parts from a variety of metals, including titanium, stainless steel, nickel alloys, and aluminum.

The process is also well-suited for creating large parts; the largest EBAM-produced part to date is nearly 13 feet long and weighs more than two tons.

Pros
  • Can produce large parts or structures, up to 19.68 ft x 11.81 ft x 39.37 in
  • It is ideal for making complex geometries or parts with intricate features
  • High build rates compared to other additive manufacturing processes
  • Minimal distortion of the final product
Cons
  • More expensive than other additive manufacturing processes
  • Requires a high level of operator training
  • Limited material choices compared to other additive manufacturing processes

 

If you need to produce large parts or structures, EBAM is a great option.

However, it is more expensive than other additive manufacturing processes and requires a high level of operator training.

7. Sheet Lamination

Sheet Lamination is a process that uses thin sheets of material, which are bonded together with adhesive.

sheet lamination process

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This type of printing is typically used for creating large objects, or for objects that need to be very strong and durable.

The downside of this process is that it can be quite time-consuming, and the materials used can be expensive.

Sheet lamination is best suited for projects that require a high degree of accuracy and detail.

Pros
  • Relatively low cost for the equipment
  • Can produce very large parts
  • Good for prototypes or one-offs
Cons
  • Limited to certain materials (mainly plastics)
  • Parts can be warped or distorted during printing
  • Print times can be very long (hours or even days)

 

So, what are the best applications for sheet lamination?

If you need a large part or prototype quickly, and the cost is a concern, sheet lamination could be a good option.

Just be aware of the potential issues with warping and distortion.

A. Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM)

Laminated Object Manufacturing is an additive manufacturing technology that is capable of creating three-dimensional parts from a roll of laminated material.

LOM was developed in the 1980s and has been commercially available since the early 1990s.

LOM is similar to other additive manufacturing technologies, such as stereolithography (SLA) and selective laser sintering (SLS), in that it builds parts layer by layer from a digital file.

However, LOM uses a roll of material instead of a vat of liquid resin or powder.

The material is fed through the machine, and each layer is glued to the previous one with an adhesive.

LOM is well-suited for low-volume production and prototyping.

It can be used to create parts with complex geometries, and the material can be easily customized to meet the needs of the application.

Pros
  • It is a relatively fast process
  • Can print large objects
  • Minimal post-processing required
Cons
  • More expensive than other processes
  • Limited material choices
  • Not as accurate as other processes

B. Ultrasonic Consolidation (UC)

Ultrasonic Consolidation is a solid-state joining process that uses ultrasonic waves to weld two or more pieces of metal together.

UC is typically used to join thin sheets of metals, but can also be used to join thicker materials.

The process is fast and can be performed at room temperature, making it ideal for prototyping and small-scale production.

UC is best suited for joining metals with low melting points, such as aluminum and copper.

The process can also be used to join dissimilar metals, such as steel and aluminum.

UC is not suitable for joining plastics or other non-metallic materials.

Pros
  • The process is simple, efficient, and can be done at room temperature
  • It is compatible with a range of materials
  • There is very little waste generated
Cons
  • The process is limited to small objects
  • It can be expensive

 

If you’re looking for a fast, efficient way to join two pieces of metal together, ultrasonic consolidation is a great option.

This process can be performed at room temperature, making it ideal for prototyping and small-scale production.

Keep in mind, however, that UC is best suited for joining metals with low melting points.

Therefore, if you’re looking to join dissimilar metals or materials such as plastics, this may not be the best method for your project.

How To Choose The Right Type Of 3D Printing For Your Project

When it comes to additive manufacturing, or what is more commonly known as “three-dimensional (or “solid”) printing,” there are a few different technologies available on the market.

Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to decide which type of additive manufacturing technology is best suited for your project.

The first thing you’ll want to consider is the build volume or the size of the object that can be created by the printer.

Cost is another important factor to keep in mind.

Print quality and the type of materials that can be used are additional considerations.

You’ll also want to think about the speed of the printing process.

And finally, you’ll want to think about the accuracy and surface finish of the final product.

Each type of additive manufacturing technology has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to do your research before making a decision.

The 3D Printing Process

Three-dimensional printing is the process of making a three-dimensional object from a digital file.

The object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is complete.

Here are the main steps involved in 3D printing:

Step One: The user creates and saves a 3D model of the object they want to print.

Steps involved in the design process can include using computer-aided design (CAD) software, sculpting by hand, or using a three-dimensional scanner to create a digital file.

Steps two through five are completed by the printer.

Step Two: The digital file is transferred to the printer.

Step Three: The printer creates a three-dimensional object by successively layering material until the entire object is complete.

Step Four: The object is then cooled and removed from the build platform.

Step Five: The final object undergoes post-processing, which can include sanding, painting, or plating.

And that’s it! The entire process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the complexity of the object being printed.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are a variety of different types of processes available for your next project.

All have their own benefits and drawbacks that must be carefully considered before making a decision.

We hope that this article has helped to give you a better understanding of the options available and how to choose the best process for your project.

Thank you for reading!

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