3D printing PolyJet vs. selective laser sintering – An intriguing comparison

3D printing PolyJet vs. selective laser sintering – An intriguing comparison

When it comes to 3D printing technology, it is absolutely true that the printing technologies, 3D printing polyjet and selective laser sintering are important technologies. Both of these technologies have been used for a long period of time due to their ease of use and customizable facility. That being said, it cannot be denied that both the technologies have their differences as well. In this blog, we are going to showcase the differences between the two most popular 3D printing technologies.

3D printing Polyjet vs. Selective Laser Sintering

The layer thickness on SLS 3D printers is mostly on the range of 50 – 150 micrometer along with the horizontal resolution that depended on the design itself. But most of the time the layer thickness is 200-300 micrometer in range. For instance, if you are looking to print a vertical through-hole, then the minimum diameter resoluble will depend on the height. On the other hand, the 3D polyjet printers have multiple layers that can be as thin as 15 micrometers. Sometimes the thickness is around 30 micrometers for increased speed. Just like the SLS printers, the horizontal resolution is low being on the 100-200 micrometer range. It needs to be remembered that the values mean a printer can actually create a feature of that size with a particular shape that is given by the nature of the process being used.

Both the 3D printing polyjet and SLS printers use a wide range of materials that are traditionally polyamide based compounds for SLS and resins are sued for polyjet printers. The polyamide used by SLS printers is most commonly known as Nylon. The material has earned the reputation for being an extremely versatile material. In simple terms, it is an all-rounder which is strong and perfectly flexible enough not to snap under too much load. The 3D printing polyjet resins come in different colors, rigid and rubber-like; sometimes they are opaque and transparent. The most basic printers use one resin at a time while creating single-material objects. The unique and advanced printers can mix 2 or 3 resins during the printing process that effectively created a printing material for every single polymer jet. This is why; the user can have multiple colors, transport materials, and flexibilities.

Instead of being able to use several materials, the objects derived from an SLS printer will be single material. Irrespective of the material chosen, the surface of the object created by a sintering powder will always be slightly rough compared to a standard device. The reason is, the powder’s particles do not melt completely, but they are just sintered and some of the microscopic granularity of the powder is present on the surface of the object. On the other hand, with 3D printing polyjet, every individual droplet has got a tiny fraction of time after it is jetted to spread itself. This is what brings the natural smoothing just like any liquid surface would do after hitting a solid surface before solidifying under UV light exposure. The microscopic behavior along with a high resolution offered by the polyjet printers provide a smooth surface on a macro scale and it feels really good when touched.