3D Printing - Additive Manufacturing - Printing Technology 

Stereolithography (SLA)

Stereolithography, or SLA for short, is one of the most commonly used 3D printing technologies used today. The process builds 3D parts from a photopolymer liquid resin which is hardened by a UV laser. The laser traces out the profile of each slice of the part and gradually builds a part layer by layer. After the laser has completed a slice, the build table lowers into the resin and the process starts all over again for the next layer.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

Selective Laser Sintering is similar to SLA except a powder is cured instead of a resin. The advantage of SLS is that much tougher materials can be used such as glass filled nylon. The resolution of SLS printers is not as good as SLA so the surface finish is no where near as smooth as SLA but as you can used tougher materials it is great for fit and function testing and also for rapid manufacturing for non visible parts.

The parts are built by melting powder plastic with a CO2 Laser which traces around the profile of the part for each slice.



Polyjet is a proprietary technology of Objet 3D Printers. It works in a similar technique as an ink jet printer but uses resins instead of ink. The resin is laid down on a print bed layer by layer and is hardened using a UV light. Machines with multiple print heads can create parts with different colour and properties. Some machines even combine a combination of materials to make hybrid, ‘digital’ materials. Print materials range from hard plastic like material right through to soft rubber like materials. The build resolution is very fine so you get great surface finish right out of the machine.

Laminated Object Manufacturing

Laminated Object Manufacturing is a process where parts are built by laminating layers of material together in the desired cross sectional shape like contour lines on a map. When all the layers have been laminated together your left with a 3D part.

Fuse Deposition Modelling (FDM)

Fuse Deposition Modeling or FDM is a process where the 3D part is built by extruding material (usually plastic) through a print head onto a build surface. The part is built up layer by layer and support material is used where ever there is an over hang.

Direct Metal Laser Sintering

Direct Metal Laser Sintering or Selective Metal Melting is similar to SLS however it melts fine grains of metal together using a very high powered laser. It can produce metal parts in stainless steel, titanium, gold and some other metals. Parts produced can be up to 99% dense and have similar strength to machined or case parts.

Digital Light Projection (DLP)

Digital Light Projection is similar to SLA however a digital light projector is used to harden the resin instead of a laser. The main advantages are that is can harden a whole layer in a fraction of the time it takes to a laser to trace around and fill in each item on the print bed. DLP printers are becoming quiet popular in the low end range due to there higher printing speeds and lower cost technology.

Cold Spray

Cold Spray is a new technology developed by the CSIRO. In a nutshell, tiny particles of metal are fired at a substrate at extremely high velocity. On impact Researchers believe the impact disrupts thin oxide films on the surface of the particles and substrate which binds the two together.

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