The Types of 3D Printing Technology in 2022
If you’re new to the wonderful world of 3D printing, then may we be the first to offer you a warm welcome. You’re going to have lots of fun.
The challenge that many newcomers to 3D printing face is distinguishing between the different processes and materials available. What’s the difference between types of 3D printing like FDM and SLS, for example? Or SLS and binder jetting? Or EBM and DMLS? It can be pretty confusing, and with so many different acronyms flying around, you’d be forgiven for mistaking a type of 3D printing for a genre of dance music.
Truth is, 3D printing, also commonly referred to as additive manufacturing, is an umbrella term that encompasses a group of different 3D printing processes. In 2015, the ISO/ASTM 52900 standard was created with the aim to standardize all terminology and classify each of the different types of 3D printers.
In total, seven categories of additive manufacturing processes have been identified and established so far. These seven 3D printing processes have brought forth many different types of 3D printing technologies that 3D printers use today. In this article, we’ve done our best to outline what they are and simply explain how they work.
Material extrusion is exactly what it sounds like: material being extruded through a nozzle. Most of the time that material is a plastic filament pushed through a heated nozzle, melting it in the process. The printer deposits the material on a build platform along a predetermined path, where the filament then cools and solidifies to form a solid object. You can also extrude metal paste, biogels, concrete, chocolate, and a wide range of other materials, but plastics are the most common.
Types of 3D Printing Technology: Fused deposition modeling (FDM), sometimes called fused filament fabrication (FFF)
Materials: Plastic filament (PLA, ABS, PET, PETG, TPU, Nylon, ASA, PC, HIPS, Carbon Fiber, and many more.) and other material
Dimensional Accuracy: ±0.5% (lower limit ±0.5 mm)
Common Applications: Electrical housings, form and fit testings, figs and fixtures, investment casting patterns, etc.
Strengths: Lowest cost 3D printing method, wide range of materials
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