The Most Important 3D Printing Technologies & Materials You Need to Know

If you believe that all 3D printers use filaments, and terms like Stereolithography, Laser Sintering, and PolyJet Printing cause you headaches, then this blog post is for you. 

In this post, we’ll give you an overview of the essential 3D printing technologies and 3D printing materials that are currently used on an industrial level. If you are looking to customize 3D products for your business, then it would be best to get help from experts from a 3D modeling agency.

Filament-based 3D Printing

Home printers typically work with plastic filament. The technology behind this is often referred to as “Fused Filament Fabrication” (FFF).

In our 3D printing factory, we have more professional, industrial-grade machines: our filament printers use a technology called “Fused Deposition Modeling” (FDM).

In an FDM printer, a long plastic filament is fed by a spool to a nozzle where the material is liquefied and ‘drawn’ on the platform, where it immediately hardens again. The nozzle moves to place the material in the correct location to build your model up layer by layer. When a layer is drawn, the platform lowers by one layer thickness so the printer can start with the next layer. Sounds similar to a regular home printer? 

Powder-based 3D Printing

The next big family of printers that we have is not based on filament but powder. Laser Sintering is used to create 3D prints in Polyamide, Alumide, and Polypropylene.

The interior of the printer is heated up to just below the melting point of the powder of your choice. The printer then spreads out an incredibly fine layer of this powder. 

A laser beam heats the areas that need to be sintered together just above the melting point. And voila: the parts that were touched by the laser are now fused while the rest remain loose powder.