Common methods of 3D printing
Advances are rapidly being made to make 3D printing technology reliable for mass manufacturing production-grade parts, and scientists and inventors are finding new ways to apply 3D printing technology every day.
- Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF/FDM)
Also known as fused deposition modeling (FDM). This method of 3D printing heats and extrudes plastic materials. It’s common in both consumer and professional 3D printers. Example 3D printers include MakerBot Replicator and Ultimaker 2.
- Stereolithography (SLA)
This method of 3D printing uses UV light to cure or harden resins, layer by layer. Example 3D printers include Autodesk Ember and Formlabs Form 1, 2 ..
- Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Common in industrial manufacturing, this method of 3D printing uses lasers to fuse powdered materials together, layer by layer. Example SLS 3D printer manufacturers include EOS and 3D Systems.
- Lithography-based Ceramic Manufacturing (LCM)
LCM is the revolutionary process used for the production of ceramic materials. The precursor is a slurry consisting of a ceramic powder and a UV-light sensitive monomer. UV exposure leads to polymerisation turning the liquid slurry into a solid. During debinding process, the polymer is removed from the green body and subsequently sintered. The result is a fluid-tight component with a smooth surface.
- HP Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)
The UV light is applied as a “slice” of the current layer, or the sectional view of the CAD model. The whole surface is evenly illuminated rather than scanned in the conventional way by the UV beam. This makes it possible to produce several components (even of different geometries) in the same space and the same production step.
The primary advantage of MJF over conventional “3D printing” such as SLS is multi color plus multi physical characteristics capabilities combined with superior accuracy.