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.

Technique/
Attribute
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Stereolithography (SLA) Digital Light Processing (DLP) Laser Sintering (Plastic/ Metal) 3D Printing (Binder Jet) Material Jetting Vaccuum Casting
Sample Image FDM 3D Printing Rapid Prototyping Stereolithography 3D Printing Rapid Prototyping DLP-3D-printed Rapid Prototyping Laser Sintering 3D Printing Rapid Prototyping 3D Printing Binder Jet Rapid Prototyping MAterial Jetting 3D Printing Rapid Prototyping vaccuum Casting Rapid Prototyping
Process Material heated to a semi-liquid state, and 3D model built up one strand at a time UV Laser beam hits a thin layer of photopolymer resin design, and solidifies it by curing Conventional light source like an arc lamp is applied to the entire surface of photopolymer resin in a single pass for curing Powder layers spread on top of each other, and selectively sintered by a CO2 laser beam as per the CAD data Layer by layer by depositing a liquid binder onto thin uniform layers of powder via roller mechanism and a feed piston Build materials selectively jetted through multiple ink jet heads Silicone moulds created by casting material around the master model is used to create copies
Subject thermo plastics Photo polymer resin Photo polymer resin Powder Powder Photopolymer liquids Silocine
Medium Heat UV Laser DLP Light Source CO2 Laser Beam Liquid Binder UV Light Vaccum chamber
Material Options PLA, ABS, Nylon, Wood, HIPS, PMMA Clear/ Castable/ Tough/ Flexible Resins Castable/ Pigmented Resins Nylon, Aluminium, Steel Sandstone Rubber, Plastics like ABS/ PP
Typical Layer Resolution 100 Microns 30 Microns 40 Microns 25 Microns 50 Microns 50 Microns NA
Output Characteristics Good 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
Cost Very cheap Very high cost High cost Costlier than FDM
Very high Cost for Metals
High Cost High cost Economical
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