3D Printer Technologies

There are several types of 3D Printing Technology and even more in development. Here is a quick breakdown of some of the most common technologies found:

  • Stereolithography (SLA) – The first patented 3D Printing Technology, it involves using a laser to cure a photopolymer resin inside of a tank that adheres to a platform that is drawn out layer by layer.
  • Digital Light Processing (DLP) – Similar to SLA technolgy, but instead of a laser it utilizes a projector system and projects the full layer instead of drawing it out.
  • Fused Deposition Modeling / Fused Filament Fabrication (FDM/FFF) – Plastic Filament is heated up and extruded and layers to create parts.
  • Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) – A variation of Powder Bed Fusion where the technology uses a laser source and cures/sinters plastic powders layer by layer to create parts.
  • Selective Laser Melting / Direct Metal Laser Sintering (SLM/DMLS) – SLM heats metal powder beyond the melting point and layers to create parts and DMLS heats the powder just hot enough to fuse metal particles together.
  • Electronic Beam Melting (EBM)– Similar to DMLS, but utilizes an Electron Beam instead of a standard laser. In essence it will scan over an entire surfaces instead of drawing the part.
  • Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM) – This technology layers adhesive-coated paper, composites, plastics and/or metals will cut the layers of material to shape and combines these rigid materials together.
  • Material Jetting (MJ) – MultiJet or PolyJet uses similar technology found in an Inkjet printer, but deposits droplets/pixels worth of thermoplastics and wax support materials. There are even multi color variations of this technology.
  • Binder Jetting (BJ) – This technology deposits beads of powder and with a combination of a binder layers these patterns together to create an end product