What's the intended use?
When having an object 3D printed, the first question to ask is, “What’s the intended use?” There are several materials used in 3D printing – each with their strengths and weaknesses. There is no silver bullet and no single method is better than another. Again, it comes down to practical application and how the end product will be used.
Here is a rundown of the various techniques and materials used in 3D printing. If you have any additional questions about which technique is right for you, we’re more than happy to assist.
For Printing Beauty Projects Where Finish Is Most Important
PolyJet™ technology utilizes very thin layers of liquid photopolymers (28 to 16 microns or .0011 in” to .0006 in”) in the additive manufacturing process. This process helps ensure the accuracy and precision of each part produced. Parts built in these materials
are ideal for concept modeling and for parts that have fine features and require very smooth surface finishes.
Available Materials: Vero & Rigur
SLA is a 3D printing system that builds robust parts with outstanding surface smoothness, feature resolution, edge definition, and tolerances. ProImage 3D can provide the widest range of applications in 3D printing. Our goal is to ensure the highest quality parts available and support the color and monochrome needs of your project.
Available Materials: Accura & Somos
For Beast Projects Where Strength Is Most Important
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
FDM technology builds parts in the same strong, stable plastics used in injection molding, CNC machining, and other traditional manufacturing processes. It harnesses the power of 3D printing while relying on tested, established thermoplastics.
Available Materials: ABS, Polycarbonate, PLA, Ultem & TPU/Flexible
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is the rapid prototyping technology of choice for a range of functional prototype applications, including those with snap fits, living hinges, and other mechanical joints. The ability of SLS to produce several pieces at one time also makes the process a good choice for Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) of products requiring strength and heat resistance.
Available Materials: Nylon & SLS Flex