3D printing is becoming increasingly popular as they offer a versatile, easy-to-use printing solution for various applications. There are two main types of 3D printers: FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) and SLS (Selective Laser Sintering). In this article, we will take a look at the basics of each type so that you can make an informed decision about which one best suits your needs.
Understanding The Different 3D Printers
3D printers have come a long way since they were first invented. There are now two main types of 3D printers: FDM and SLA. FDM printers are the most affordable and widespread, using a plastic filament to print objects. SLA printers, on the other hand, use liquid resins. This process allows for finer details and smoother surfaces.
When just starting with 3D printing, choosing a printer that supports FFF (fused filament fabrication) and SLA (stereolithography) methods is important. Many 3D printers only support one of the two methods, which could be better.
When it comes to 3D printers, there are a variety of models to choose from. Each with its own set of pros and cons. However, the best option is the printer with the most features and functionality.
What is FDM printing? FDM 3D printing is a technology that works horizontally and vertically, where an extrusion nozzle moves over a build platform. The process involves using thermoplastic material that reaches a melting point and is then forced out to create a 3D object layer by layer. This type of printer is relatively cheap, but the finished products could be more durable. I have seen users with subpar prints after just one or two models with this printer.
Pros: Lots of different options for materials. Can handle multiple materials well. It’s reasonably quick and easy to use.
Cons: It isn’t easy to control how it prints—brands and manufacturers shade in their suggested support materials.
Need something a little better? Creality sells a ton of different filaments for 3d printers found online.
Differences In the FFF And SLS
FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) and SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) are different processes for 3D printing. Both printers use the same filament, but FFF is a process in which the filament is melted and deposited layer-by-layer with a hot-end extruder.SLS is a process in which the plastic is deposited layer-by-layer using an electric heater, and the plastic comes out smooth.
Both types also have a heated bed (therefore, a heated bed is also a part of what a 3D printer is); however, SLS printers usually have a larger build volume than FFF printers due to multiple layers of plastic. Before you choose your printer, you’ll be able to select the filaments used in the printer. Single-strand polyethylene terephthalate (PEEK), polylactic acid (PEX), nylon, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are the standard filaments used in FFF printers.
As well as polylactic soybean oil (PVA) and polylactic acid-based plastics, most SLS printers use a combination of PEEK, PEX, and PVC. Some models, like the XYZSmartFilament printers from Thingiverse, include PEEK and PEX filaments. You’ll need to purchase your own PEEK or PEX tubing for this machine. Now that you know the basics of FFF and SLS printing, let’s discuss each printer’s pros and cons.
Positives of FFF Printer Filament selection is easier with FFF printers. They can switch between other filaments, such as PVA and PEX, which are less clogged. Filaments can be changed in a brief amount of time, making it easier to print low-cost, high-quality objects. You can print large batches of multiple items using the FFF printers simultaneously.
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