3D Printing FDM vs. SLS – A Brief Comparative analysis

3D Printing FDM vs. SLS – A Brief Comparative analysis

3D printing or additive manufacturing refers to the group of technologies that are used for developing a three-dimensional object. Considering the characteristics of the project, the object required for printing, the cost and also the quality of the object, it cannot be denied that 3D printing is the best option for a lot of products. It is much more suitable than traditional printing methods. The 3D printing FDM (fused deposition modeling) is one of the most used techniques for 3D printing. Another important method for 3D printing is SLS (selective laser sintering). Even though both the methods are commonly used for 3D printing, there are subtle differences in both the above-mentioned processes. That being said, in this article, we are going to bring a comparative analysis of the two types of methods used for 3D printing.

A brief comparison of 3D printing FDM vs. SLS

The 3D printing FDM methodology helps in getting onto the 3D printing world in a much more cost-effective way. This is perfectly suitable for individuals who don’t have a huge budget. The core reason for this is FDM printers are cost-effective as well. They work by melting the filament layer by layer. On the SLS technology allows in printing an object by sintering. This means the object is forming a solid mass of material from heat but it doesn’t reach the threshold of liquefaction. There are no support materials required for 3D printing SLS method because there is unsintered material all around the object. Thus, this method helps in creating complicated and interlocking forms.

One of the most important factors of FDM is the product can be created within a very short period of time. The end product might not look aesthetically pleasing, but the mobility between the components is good to be a prototype. It will allow in creating multiple test iterations within a very short period of time as well. On the other hand, for the 3D printing SLS technology, the end product can also be created within a short time, but without any scope for post-processing. The finish is smooth and the appearance is much better than the FDM products. Considering the mobility, it is much better than the 3D printing FDM which allows in more fluent movements of the complete mesh.

The 3D printing FDM springy balls challenge taken up by scientists was not a successful one. It took a lot of time to print using support material and there were issues as well when they tried to dissolve it. The time required for dissolving all amount of support was too long as well. On the other hand, the SLS springy ball experiment was successful. On the SLS printer, the objects that are being printed are simultaneously buried in unsintered powder. Thus, any sort of overhand can easily rest on this powder which acts as a building material and support at the same time.

Finally, it can be said that, if you are looking to print objects with minimum complexity, then the best option is to choose the 3D printing FDM. On the other hand, the 3D printing SLS technology is for a bit more professionals and advanced projects.