We have thoroughly researched the 3d printer market place and looked at many actual customer reviews. To gauge consumer opinions regarding what qualities are most important when looking for a 3d printer for sale. We will therefore first look at the two types of 3d printer on the market today and discuss common uses of both.
We will look at both FDM and SLA 3d printers and evaluate the applicability to end user desired applications of both of these families of machine. The print methods of each machine will be looked at and we will also look at the types of common media used in printing with these units.
The virtues of the different types of filament available for the FDM type printers will be discussed revealing the strengths and possible weaknesses of each type.
This article will look at examples of each machine, and the type of features they offer. What types of materials will the machine be able to print with and how they work their magic.
FDM 3d Printers:
FDM printers are by far the most common type of 3d printer for sale in today’s marketplace. They work by heating and extruding thermoplastic filaments via an extrusion head and building up the desired object by depositing the melted plastics onto a construction bed. These objects are formed by referring to pre-programmed X and Y coordinates. The build bed slowly lowers in the Z direction as the object is constructed layer by layer. These layers are known as slices.
The FDM breed of 3d printer is very cost effective and a fantastic tool for aiding with product development. This enables businesses and educational establishments to quickly develop prototypes of product and speed the procession to market. Robust component parts and models can be built using these types of machine quickly and inexpensively.
This type of printer can use a variety of materials with which to print. The two most common being PLA and organically produced medium produced from corn, and ABS a plastics based material.
PLA is prone to chipping and crumbling whilst ABS filament can suffer from curling at the edges when long surface areas are built in contact with the machine’s build bed. This can be ameliorated by building with only smaller surface areas in contact with the bed (standing up, not laying down).
Examples of good FDM machines are the Makerbot Replicator + CLICK HERE TO READ OUR REVIEW OF THE MAKERBOT REPLICATOR+
The LulzBot Taz6 3d printer is another great example of an FMD machine with it’s large build volume of 280 mm x 280 mm x 250 mm enabling you to print large objects or multiple components in open print session. YOU CAN SEE OUR REVIEW OF THE LULZBOT TAZ 6 BY CLICKING THIS LINK.
SLA printer use a photosensitive layer of liquid resin. The layer is hardened by exposing it to a UV-laser beam. This serves to harden & solidify the resin forming a layer of the object being printed. As the layer hardens into the pre-programmed shape the machines bed lowers one layer depth into the the resin tank. The laser then sweeps across the object and the next layer is fixed on top of the last layer.
The above is achieved by exposing a layer of photosensitive liquid resin to a UV-laser beam so that the resin hardens and becomes solid. Once the laser has swept a layer of resin in the desired pattern and it begins to harden, the model-building platform in the liquid tank of the printer steps down the thickness of a single layer, and the laser begins to form the next layer. Each layer is built on top of the preceding one.
As with the FMA family of 3d printers these models are also prone to edges curling up and need to be given a support structure to counter this. A solvent rinse is also required once the printing process is complete. The product may also need to be placed into a UV oven and baked to finalise the print.
SLA Printing has the advantage of being able to produce a very smooth surface finish allowing for fine detail. These attributes have contributed to its growing popularity in industries that require such fine finishes. Such as the dental and jewellery sectors where a fine surface is required when producing moulds for the casting of end products. Please CLICK HETRRE to visit our full review of the Formlabs Form 1+ Complete Package with Clear Resin
If you are looking to buy a 3d printer you first need to ask yourself these few questions.
What will the machine mainly be used for fine printing for forming mouldings for cosmetic products like jewellery, or dentistry, or are you more interested in component parts & other printable objects ?
If you need the fine precision of an SLA 3d printer we recommend you check out our review of the Formlabs Form 1+ Complete Package with Clear Resin here.
If you are a concerned with printing for research and development, or other components, or objects. Then take a look at our top pick for FDM 3d Prints the Makerbot Replicator + Click to see our review here…
To see the review Click Here….