There are many different techniques in 3D printing. The most famous printing techniques are: Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Stereolithography (SLA) and Fused Deposit Modeling (FDM). A layer of powder is dosed on a powder bed with SLS. The shape of the product is lasered on a selective part of the powder bed. With SLA, a UV laser and a liquid container illuminate layer by layer. The liquid cures, creating a product. FDM is currently the most popular technique for realizing products.
FDM is a technique based on extrusion. A molten layer of plastic is deposited on the print bed by means of a printhead, which then adheres. Once the first layer has been drawn, the print bed drops down and a new layer is built on the previous layer. This is repeated for a certain time, which ultimately results in a model.
When choosing the FDM technology, this is usually because of the lower costs and ease of use that come with this technique. Compared to other techniques, FDM is a lot cheaper. It is important for companies to know whether 3D printing and the chosen technique are cheaper than the traditional production method. For example, the powder used at SLS and the liquid at SLA (Resin) are very expensive. The material costs for the FDM technology, also known as filament, are much lower. This makes it a lot more attractive for companies.
Because there is a lot of choice in filament, companies can switch between the different material types in a quick and cheaper way. With FDM technology, companies can also choose to print with multiple materials at the same time. This makes it possible to print, among other things, complex models, because the extra print head is used for support material such as HIPS or PVA. Another option is to print multiple colors
The other techniques also require more post-processing than the FDM technology. No need to whip powder off the bed or play with liquids that are expensive. At FDM you need almost to no post-processing and the product is immediately usable.
Finally, the FDM technology is much more accessible than the other techniques. Practice shows that this technique is picked up a lot faster and carried out more easily. This makes the FDM technique attractive for companies that have little to no experience with 3D printing, but also for companies that already have some experience.