This technique allows us to create personalized pieces from the printing of 3D designs created by computer, it is quite common for the creation of molds, and prototypes in university works. But what are the technologies? What is the most recommended to start?
There are three main technologies in this area:
- The most basic is 3D printing with filament, FDM ; The process consists of using ABS plastic filaments going through a heat process, where the material melts and layers of the object are created. Among the advantages of this technique we have that: It is not toxic, it has a great variety of colors, it is one of the most affordable machines. The main disadvantage is the thickness or curves, since we cannot make too thin pieces, because it has a tolerance of 0.10-0.25mm.
- The next technique, which is one of the oldest, is SLA or Stereolithography, this process is characterized by creating the design with layers of resin, which are dried with UV light. The main advantages of this process are: it has an excellent finish, it can be painted and it is highly resistant. Among its disadvantages we have that the resin used is quite expensive and is toxic, apart from the fact that a support for the piece must be created, which requires extra material.
- And finally, we have the SLS or Powder Fusion Printing process, in case the design layers are made in the powder, while they are solidifying with an application of a laser, it is one of the most basic technologies, at the end of the process we must remove the excess material to obtain the piece. Among the advantages we have that we can make parts that have many details or create complex mechanisms, it does not require a support structure. On the other hand, it has a high initial investment cost, and the piece is quite brittle, thus requiring a hardening process.
Here you can compare the finishes of each of the techniques.
We hope that this introduction to 3D printing technology can help you evaluate which is the most convenient process. The one that normally starts the business with is FDM, or filaments.