Rapid Prototyping Techniques – Comparison

Rapid prototyping is a fast and cost-effective method for creating prototypes for product development.

It helps for a multitude of uses like functional testing, tooling, moulds, visualization and as a proof of concept.  Please find below a brief comparison between different techniques in rapid prototyping used at think3D.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)Stereolithography (SLA)Digital Light Processing (DLP)Laser Sintering (Plastic/ Metal)3D Printing (Binder Jet)Material JettingVaccuum Casting
Sample ImageFDM 3D Printing Rapid PrototypingStereolithography 3D Printing Rapid PrototypingDLP-3D-printed Rapid PrototypingLaser Sintering 3D Printing Rapid Prototyping3D Printing Binder Jet Rapid PrototypingMAterial Jetting 3D Printing Rapid Prototypingvaccuum Casting Rapid Prototyping
ProcessMaterial heated to a semi-liquid state, and 3D model built up one strand at a timeUV Laser beam hits a thin layer of photopolymer resin design, and solidifies it by curingConventional light source like an arc lamp is applied to the entire surface of photopolymer resin in a single pass for curingPowder layers spread on top of each other, and selectively sintered by a CO2 laser beam as per the CAD dataLayer by layer by depositing a liquid binder onto thin uniform layers of powder via roller mechanism and a feed pistonBuild materials selectively jetted through multiple ink jet headsSilicone moulds created by casting material around the master model is used to create copies
Subjectthermo plasticsPhoto polymer resinPhoto polymer resinPowderPowderPhotopolymer liquidsSilocine
MediumHeatUV Laser DLP Light SourceCO2 Laser BeamLiquid BinderUV LightVaccum chamber
Material OptionsPLA, ABS, Nylon, Wood, HIPS, PMMAClear/ Castable/ Tough/ Flexible ResinsCastable/ Pigmented ResinsNylon, Aluminium, SteelSandstoneRubber, Plastics like ABS/ PP
Typical Layer Resolution100 Microns30 Microns40 Microns25 Microns50 Microns50 MicronsNA
Output CharacteristicsGood Strength, lesser accuracy and needs post processing for good surface finish Excellent Surface Finish
High Accuracy
Lesser Strength over time
Excellent Surface Finish
Good Accuracy
Lesser Strength over time
Faster turnaround
High Strength
Good Accuracy
Slightly rough Surface
High Complex shapes possibility
Textured surface
Full colour Output
Low Strength
Smooth Finish
Multi Material Options
High Accuracy
Good Accuracy
Good Surface finish
Good Strength
CostVery cheapVery high costHigh costCostlier than FDM
Very high Cost for Metals
High CostHigh costEconomical
Typical Applications-Mechanical Parts
-Architectural Prototypes
-Quick Proof of Concept
-High Precision parts for display
-Castable parts for Jewelry & Dental
-High Precision parts for display
-Castable parts for Jewelry & Dental
-Mechanical Prototypes
-Complex parts & Accessories
-Architectural Models
-Full Color Miniatures
-Display Parts
-Multi material parts for functional prototypes with exact characteristics -Low volume production run
-High finesse requirements



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