|How It Works
|SLA uses a laser to cure liquid resin into hardened plastic in a process called photopolymerization. The build platform lowers into a resin tank, and the laser solidifies the resin layer by layer, creating the part from the bottom up.
|Known for extremely high resolution and accuracy, SLA can produce parts with smooth surface finishes and intricate details.
|SLA is ideal for creating complex, aesthetically detailed parts like headlight covers, interior console panels, or clear components where precision and finish are crucial. It's often used for prototyping new designs due to its excellent surface finish and detail resolution.
|Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
|In SLS, a laser selectively sinters powdered material, typically nylon or polyamide, to form solid structures. The powder bed also acts as support for the parts, eliminating the need for additional structures.
|Parts are durable, somewhat rough in texture, and have good thermal and chemical resistance. SLS can produce complex geometries that would be impossible with traditional manufacturing.
|SLS is used for functional parts like hinges, mounts, or even whole dashboard assemblies. It's suitable for parts requiring durability and thermal resistance, such as under-the-hood components.
|Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
|FDM works by extruding thermoplastic filaments, such as ABS, PLA, or nylon, through a heated nozzle, laying down material layer by layer to build the part.
|FDM is highly versatile with a wide range of material options. Parts have a layered appearance and are mechanically robust.
|It's commonly used for prototyping, jigs, fixtures, and functional parts where aesthetics are not the primary concern. For example, FDM can create durable tooling for use in the assembly line.
|Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
|DMLS uses a laser to fuse metal powder into solid parts. The process is similar to SLS but uses metals like steel, titanium, or aluminum.
|Creates strong and durable metal parts with complex geometries. It can produce parts with internal features and passages that would be impossible to machine.
|DMLS is crucial for high-strength, critical components like engine parts, transmission components, and custom metal fittings.
|Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)
|MJF spreads out a layer of powder, and then a print head applies a fusing agent in the desired areas. The layer is then exposed to heat, fusing the powder into a solid layer.
|Offers excellent mechanical properties, high detail, and relatively fast print speeds. It's capable of producing parts with isotropic mechanical properties.
|Ideal for complex, functional parts that require durability, such as air ducts, chassis parts, or even entire seat assemblies.
|This process works similarly to 2D inkjet printing. Droplets of a photopolymer are jetted onto a build platform and then cured with UV light.
|Produces parts with very high accuracy and smooth surface finishes, ideal for detailed, high-resolution parts.
|Used for producing high-detail, realistic prototypes for design verification and aesthetics testing. It's particularly useful for dashboard components, lighting systems, and other visible parts where detail is key.
|Electron Beam Melting (EBM)
|EBM uses an electron beam in a vacuum to melt metal powder, building parts layer by layer.
|Produces parts that are extremely dense and strong, suitable for high-stress and high-temperature applications.
|EBM is used for critical metal parts like gears, components in transmission systems, and elements of the engine that require high strength and density.
|Digital Light Processing (DLP)
|Analogous to SLA, DLP employs a digital projector screen to project a single image of each layer over the whole platform, simultaneously curing the resin in one go.
|DLP, being quicker than SLA, has the capability to produce components with intricate details and a smooth surface texture.
|Useful for detailed components such as intricate connectors, buttons, and small, complex assemblies.