Not so long ago, the KLONA team decided to finally put an end to the endless dispute about two special popular types of 3D printing – SLA and FDM. One of which is in particular demand due to its cheapness and simplicity – FDM printing, the other, SLA – has repeatedly demonstrated itself as a better and more accurate way of 3D printing.

First of all, I would like to point out that:

  1. SLA-printing or it is also called stereolithography is a 3D printing method in which, under the influence of laser radiation, a liquid photopolymer changes its physical characteristics and solidifies.
  2. FDM-printing is a method of layer-by-layer deposition of material – the creation of three-dimensional objects by applying successive layers of material that follow the contours of a digital model.

During the experiment, we created a master model for the subsequent production of reverse silicone molds used in the creation of small runs of souvenirs. We made one master model using SLA printing, the second using FDM technologies:

fdm and sla printing

As you can see, the master model obtained using FDM printing has an insufficiently high surface quality, its unevenness and roughness are visible, which can affect the entire circulation of souvenir products. 3D printing of such a small object greatly complicates the post-processing processes – primers or fillers. Of course, mechanical post-processing of the resulting model is possible, but this will lead to a loss of accuracy in the dimensions of the product. The thickness and width of the applied plastic layer in this case is only 10 microns or 0.001 mm, these are the maximum values ​​typical for this type of printing.

fdm and sla printing

The master model obtained by SLA printing is more accurate and of higher quality. The thickness and width of the applied plastic layer is 100 microns (0.01 mm). However, it loses to FDM technologies in terms of price.

To date, the cost of FDM printing is 6 UAH. for 30 microns (0.03 mm), 8 UAH. for 20 microns, 10 UAH. for 10 µm. The cost of the photopolymer is — 25 UAH. per gram of plastic. Photopolymer can be printed using rubber material, and can also be printed with multiple materials at the same time.

fdm and sla printing fdm and sla printing

According to the results of printing a test sample, it became clear that the FDM method significantly loses in the quality of printing with a photopolymer.

Both printing methods have their advantages and disadvantages, which technology you choose depends on your capabilities and surface quality requirements. On small details, on products with engravings and applied logos, it is better to use a photopolymer. Expensive, but minimal processing. If you have a large object with flat surfaces, then it is quite possible to get by with FDM printing, but be sure to use post-print processing – putty.

You can order high-quality 3D printing services at affordable prices from KLONA. High quality end result – we guarantee!