Which 3D Printer? Resin Or Filament?

Are you trying to figure out whether you want a resin 3D printer or a filament 3D printer? Well, you’re in the right place.

3D printing with resin involves a liquid material that requires light to cure it, creating the layers. Filament on the other hand involves a plastic material that is simply melted together, building layer by layer. Deciding between resin or filament can be a bit challenging because there are advantages and disadvantages to each of them.

“Today we find dozens of each style available at very good prices, some even as low as $100. With few exceptions, the price of SLS or SLM 3D printing has mostly not yet to dropped into professional price ranges, so users are left with the choice of resin or filament.

Sometimes the choice is straightforward, as you might have a specific application in mind that effectively determines the choice of machine. However, it may not always be so clear.”

Filament 3D printers

Printing in filament is the classic option, it’s the way 3D printing started. That does not mean, however, that the process is outdated. If anything, the advancements in filament technology have drastically improved over the years. Here are some advantages of 3D printing with filament:

  • Material choice: There is a much wider choice of materials for filament 3D printers, and today that includes many functional materials used in engineering.
  • High-temperature potential: It is possible, with the correct 3D printer equipment, to 3D print high-temperature materials like PEEK or ULTEM.
  • Carbon fiber potential: Extremely strong materials, such as carbon fiber-infused filament, can be used.

Want to check out the rest of the advantages to 3D printing with filament? You can do that here.

With that being said, that’s not to say there are no flaws in this style of 3D printing. Here are some of the disadvantages of 3D printing with filament instead of resin.

  • Noise: Most filament 3D printers have a noisy motion system, powered by buzzy stepper motors, although a few recent machines have quieter stepper drivers.
  • Mechanical complexity: The motion system on filament machines is relatively complex, involving belts, alignments and calibrations, and wear and tear.
  • Maintenance requirements: Because of the mechanical complexity, filament equipment tends to have more need for maintenance and repair.

Check out the rest of the disadvantages here.

Resin 3D printers

3d printing in resin may not be as old as its filament counterpart, but that does not mean that it isn’t a great option for certain cases. Here are some advantages to consider.

  • High resolution: The resolution of resin 3D printers can be quite a bit more than filament machines due to the size of the light engine’s pixels.
  • Surface quality: Surface quality is typically far better on resin 3D prints due to the nature of how the polymers fuse during printing.
  • Low maintenance: Having far fewer parts, resin 3D printers typically require a great deal less maintenance than filament 3D printers.

Take a look at these disadvantages:

  • Small build volume: The print volumes are typically quite small, but suitable for high-resolution small parts.
  • Thermoset materials: The thermoset materials used in resin 3D printers cannot easily be recycled.
  • Limited materials choice: There are far fewer materials choices available for resin 3D printer operators, and limited engineering materials. Often you will see “ABS-like” resins, but they are not really ABS.

To see the full list, read the original article here.

Categories: Design & Process