3D printing is revolutionizing the way we make things. With FDM, SLS, and SLA 3D printing technologies, you can create complex designs with precision and accuracy. Get started today with our easy-to-use 3D design

Comparison of 3D printing methods: SLS vs FDM vs SLA

3D printing technology has advanced significantly in the last decade. From enhanced speed to improved print design and customization, new options are constantly emerging. Understanding which type of 3D printing technology is best for a specific project is crucial. This article compares Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), and Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and highlights their differences as well as what makes each technology good for a specific application.



Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) FDM spur gears

FDM is a relatively inexpensive 3D printing technology that uses thermoplastics as its build material. FDM is also known as fused filament fabrication (FFF). It is the most common type of 3D printer and is typically used for prototyping purposes. It can also be used to create small-scale production parts. The main disadvantages of FDM are that it can only print in one color at a time, and the resulting models are usually not very durable or strong.


Stereolithography (SLA) Stereolithography, SLA printing

SLA uses ultraviolet light to cure liquid resin into solid parts layer by layer. SLA printers use lasers to solidify the resin; therefore, they’re also known as laser sintering machines (LSMs). This process enables SLA printers to produce accurate parts with smooth surfaces, but it’s not suitable for large volumes of parts because it’s expensive and slow. The biggest advantage of SLA is that it produces highly accurate prints with smooth surfaces that look like injection molded plastic parts



Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)SLS printing

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a type of 3D printing technology that uses a laser to fuse powder into a solid object. The powder is laid down in thin layers and fused together by a laser beam. It is an additive manufacturing process that can produce parts with complex geometries, which makes it well suited for prototyping and manufacturing small series. The SLS process requires support structures to be printed along with the part, but this can be removed after the printing process is complete.


Today, there are many options in 3D printing technology. Choosing the right one depends on your needs as a designer, and how much you're willing to spend. Which of these technologies is best for you will likely come down to cost and return on investment—which one gives you the best bang for your buck? Ultimately, any of these technologies can be beneficial for designers—and if you do choose to go with FDM, SLA, or SLS, we hope this article helped you make a more informed choice.

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