After the 3D modelling process, 3D printing technology creates physical, three-dimensional objects from digital files. Charles W. Hull invented the process and produced the first 3D-printed part in the 1980s. This was when 3D printing became very popular. 3D printing has seen an explosion in popularity and now offers many opportunities. 3D printing can create three-dimensional objects by using layers and computer-aided designing. The process of 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) involves the building of layers of different materials such as plastics, biomaterials, and composites to create items with different sizes, shapes, rigidity, color, and stiffness.
FDM Printer Vs. Resin Printer
Fused filament fabrication (FFF), also known as fused-deposition modeling (FDM), 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM), is a technology in the field of material extrusion. FDM deposits the melted material in a predetermined way to create layers using thermoplastic polymers that are filaments. Fused deposition modeling, the most popular approach to additive manufacturing, is preferred. It is used in the automotive industry for everything, from the testing of models to the creation fully functional parts. FDM is the most widely used 3D printing technology because most applications require durable and robust materials.
Stereolithography (SLA), or resin printing technology, is used to create prototypes, models and patterns layer by layer. Photochemical processes are used to create polymers and 3D solids. The light causes monomers and oligomers to cross-link. Resin 3D printers use the same projector or laser-based lighting source to convert liquid resin into hard plastic. This is the most important physical difference. The resin tank, light source, build platform and light source are all different. These machines use thermoset resins with light reactivity. When SLA resins are exposed at specific wavelengths of light, small molecular chains can combine monomers and oligomers to create solidified flexible or rigid geometries.
Differences Between FDM and Resin Printers
Both types of 3D printers work in a different way and use different materials. FDM uses filament that melts and sticks to the previous layer. This creates the model gradually. To differentiate further, you can examine the following factors.
- Quality of prints: The quality and accuracy in the construction of pieces are what immediately stands out when looking at prints made with resin printers. FDM printers will not be able print as detailed prints due to their thicker layers than resin printers. This is evident in miniatures. FDM printing often has obvious seam lines, while resin prints have a uniform finish. The most noticeable difference between these two technologies is their print quality. Resin printers produce prints with a significantly higher resolution.
- Build volumeDue the resin printer’s smaller dimensions and therefore lower print volume, the component volume to be produced is also restricted. It is important to remember that the market, which refers to printers that are affordable for the majority of people, is not the professional market. FDM 3D printers are more versatile than resin or SLA printers. They can handle short-run additive manufacturing tasks as well as creating full-size models and parts.
- Speed of printing: Resin printers are faster than FDM printers when printing multiple models. The layer that must be hardened can be printed simultaneously with resin printers. You can adjust the slicer settings to increase layer height or other factors to speed printing. This will speed up the printing process and make it finish faster. Keep in mind, however, that faster printing results in lower quality prints.
- Maintenance:In comparison to FDM printers which have components that wear over time, resin printers require less mechanical adjustments and are smaller in size. Sometimes the nozzle can become clogged and will need to be cleaned. The belts may need to be replaced or changed. A piece of filament might get stuck in one cooling fan. LCD screen damage may occur in LED-LCD resin printers. The FEP film, which is a component of resin tanks, may also need to be replaced occasionally. Resin printers are more costly to maintain than FDM printer parts.
- After-processing:FDM parts are often prepared and ready for use once the print has been completed. It is important to note that sometimes it is necessary to remove support material or sand the part before it can be called “done.” Resin printers are not straightforward. The unprocessed resin must be removed in an isopropyl Alcohol bath and the print must be dried in a UV light chamber. It is often necessary to also remove supports.
- Resin printers are easier to use because they don’t require any modifications to the settings such as belt tension or bed leveling. Resin is a liquid and can be poisonous so users should use extreme caution and wear appropriate safety gear.
FDM printers can use a solid plastic filament to eliminate any risk. FDM printers can be expensive and users will need to level the bed after every five to ten prints. Some gases can be toxic from thermoplastic polymers or resins. ABS is one example. It requires that you work in ventilated areas. Because they don’t need adjustments, resin printers are easier to use. Resin printers are also easier to use because they don’t require any adjustments. To prevent skin reactions, protective eyewear and gloves must be worn.
- Costs involvedThe technology is becoming more widely adopted due to the increased supply. This lowers the price. Resin printers for home can be bought for as low as $250 to $300. However, FDM is the most cost-effective option. The price of resin printers for home use will decrease over time. A spool of 1 kilogram filament will cost you about $20. For final curing and finishing touches, resin printers need isopropyl alcohol. The resin is five times more expensive than filament. The cost of running a resin printer is five times more than filament. Add isopropyl Alcohol to the equation. Also, replacement parts such as the FEP sheet (which must be replaced every 20-30 prints or when it starts to show signs of wear) are much more costly than for FDM printers. FDM printers are not subject to preventive maintenance. However, they require a lot more time because of the many mechanical parts that can be damaged and need to be replaced frequently.