3D printing is an excellent source of fun. Recently it has turned into a professional industry in the manufacturing field. This manufacturing technique works really great for creating unique models or prototypes.
This three-dimensional printing technique basically uses two different materials- resins and thermoplastic filaments. The FDM or Fused Deposition Modelling process uses filaments, and the SLA or Stereolithography Apparatus technology uses resins.
Lt’s know their differences detailed and find out the preferences.
Resin 3D Printer VS Filament: Comparison Table
What are the main differences between resin and filament 3D printers? Let’s check these differences in short.
Resin 3D Printer
Filament 3D Printer
Low in price comparably
High precision in every printing movement
|Comparably low precision|
Time-consuming and harder
Single Model Printing Speed
Here, we will discuss the differences between resin printing technology and filament printing technology in terms of quality production, price of the printer or materials, safety, strength, and speed. This discussion will tell you what is best for you?
FDM technique provides a quality that is a tiny contingent on some factors. In FDM and SLA techniques, there are differences in extruder precision, nozzle size, and adhesion power between layers. Filament printing is a slower printing technique that is much time-consuming and also pricey. You may make a quality model while doing a big project with a filament printing technique, but you must spend more time and labour.
As the filament printing technique uses more time, lower layers can shrink, warp, or shift within time. It is because layers slowly squeeze over time. It can cause some imbalance in the layer settings. There are ways to perfect the final product by having some final touch and post-processing.
In the case of the SLA printing technique, resins do better compared to the filament. Using filament materials can make the same quality as resins, but you must input more labour and time. Resin printing uses a solid and accurate laser technique that can make every slightest movement preciseness. SLA technique produces a higher printing resolution that is enough to create premium quality.
SLA technique provides less force to the layers that help in better settings of all the layers. Top layers sit on lower layers perfectly, and there is no chance of shrinkage or warp on any layers. The layer height is also low compared to the FDM printers that take the models to have more details.
So, FDM printers can make pricey products using PLA, PETG, or Nylon types expensive material for better quality. Still, resins make final premium products by the SLA technique and resin materials.
There are various price ranges for filament 3D printers in the market. If you want to compare them, resin printers are expensive. If the comparison is between the high-quality resin printers and filament printers, it is evident that the resin printers are more expensive.
If you are concerning to buy a 3D printer, you have to make a prominent budget, of course. In fact, the price range of both the printers is an arguable fact. You may find some FDM printers at a low price range, but you have to increase your budget when buying a resin printer.
In terms of printer accessories, you have to keep a budget to buy extruders or nozzles and fill the spool. FDM printers need low-cost filaments. Besides, you do not have to replace the nozzles frequently. This makes the FDM printers’ running cost low compared to the resin printers.
As the initial price of the resin printers is high, they demand frequent resin tank replacement. Resin printers provide more detailing in printing products, and so, they need more resins. So, you have to fill the spool more frequent. These printers also need frequent nozzle replacement. Besides, there are other important matters to consider including the price of a wash and cure machine for resin products. You will need at least a curing chamber.
Though resin printers produce higher quality products, they are pricey both in the initial and running costs. It is an important term to consider.
Comfort in Use
There is a necessity to learn how to use 3D printers. You have to do some post-processing steps to get the final products in both types of printers.
In filament printers, you will need a palette knife to remove the model from the print bed. Then you may need to snip off the excess plastic from the bed. A little sanding can also be needed. In resin printers, there remain more resin leftovers. It is harder to clean all the mess. You may need to use isopropyl alcohol to wash the product to clean different resins stuck at its outer body parts. Sometimes, the object may need to be put into an ultraviolet oven to get the finished product.
Though the final processing is relatively harder for resin printing techniques, the difference is low. Both types of printers needs efforts to get the final product in hand.
Strength of Final Object
Resin comes into the market a bit late for its strength. Even now, many manufacturing industries prefer FDM technology for the firm and sturdy strength of different types of filaments. In the printer market, resin printers come from premium brands, and this can be quite an impressive strength for them. But for the power of the materials and durability of the final products, obviously, the filament has gone a long way.
The resistance to wear and tear is far more for filament models than resins. Among all the filaments, polycarbonate is the strongest and the preferable material. Its tensile strength is 9800 psi which is always higher than other filaments and resins. One of the most challenging resins, FormLabs resin, has 8080 psi tensile strength that is low compared to filaments. A polycarbonate made hook can lift a weight up to 685 IBs. Isn’t that impressive?
Other filaments like carbon fibre or nylon both are stronger than any type of resins. Another notable filament is NinjaFlex semi-flex filament. It can take 56-2 IBs pulling force. ABS’s most common filament is also so strong that it can withstand high pressure or weight.
Siraya Tech has innovated a resin that is like ABS to boost its strength. This innovative step is, of course, impressive, but still, it cannot hold up to the same strength as ABS. Within the power, filaments are resistant to ear and tear. One of the strong filaments is TPU which has a flexible core inside it and an exceptional resistance to wear.
In terms of quality and detailing in design, resin wins, but they are brittle. That is the reason filaments are more palpable and acceptable to the market. Most manufacturing companies prefer to make delicate designs using filament though they need more time and labour. They can get a final product that can withstand any impact and weight.
Though the risks are not seen, both 3D printers pose some health effects and safety risks, especially in the long run.
FDM printing technology emits toxic fumes as it uses high temperatures. On the other hand, resin 3D printers also run a regular fume emission when running. Besides, resin printers are responsible for some chemical reactions that can be harmful in contact.
So, you have to use Nitrile hand gloves and safety glasses to protect your hand and eyes from chemical by-products. You should be protected until you get the final product. The printers should be in well-ventilated places. These printers can cause long-term respiratory problems and skin irritation. So, invest a bit to make a sound filtration system.
Simply speaking, in terms of speed, filament wins. But there is a lot more talk in this aspect that can change the fact of rate.
When you think of the speed regarding multiple models or prototype making, the resin is not lagging. There are special resin printers that follow Masked Stereolithography Apparatus (MSLA)technique. This technique makes the use of resin faster. In the post-processing time, the UV curing flashes come in a beam that takes more time for resin printing technology. But for MSLA, UV curing light falls on the screen in shapes for whole the layers. It cuts the additional time requirement and speeds the process up.
Regarding single model making, FDM technology is faster, generally, than the SLA technique. The post-processing session for the resin printing also takes extra time that lower the speed to reach the final product. In the filament printing technology, you may only remove the product from the print bed and snip a little to clean the extra plastics. For this reason, FDM printing is a faster technique than the SLA technique.
SLA technique is so delicate that it takes time to print every small surface in each layer. So many details at one time in the SLA technique requires extra time. It decreases speed as well.
The FDM technique can print thick layers with internal structure through the infill system, apart from the SLA technique. This processing cut the time requirement. Besides, filament printing requires a nozzle to use, and you can decrease the time requirement by using a large nozzle size. For example, using a 1mm nozzle instead of 0.4 mm nozzle can increase printing speed.
Whereas some resin printing techniques including, DLP and LCD, do not use laser or nozzle extruders. Only the light projector works for printing the complete layers. So, there is no chance to replace the nozzle and speed the process.
So, it is up to your choice. If you want quality printing from resin, you can use the MSLA process or multiple printing options. Otherwise, FDM is the fastest technology.
Miniatures, Filament or Resin
When you are going to create miniatures, resin printers are the best choice. In miniature designs, it needs details and delicate shape presentations. To make a flawless design, you have to use resin printers because resin printers can create every detail in all the layers. In fact, resins printers came into the market with this purpose. Significantly, the MSLA 3D printers are made for speedy delicate design in miniatures easily.
In resin 3D printing, the depth of the design and precision is prioritized at first. The finite details in multiple models making worth the cost and labour of resin printing. A resin printer can easily make loads of minis in 30 mm or more petite size. The quality of these miniatures will not be hampered a bit. Hassle is less also.
Filament printing cannot do the same as resin printers for miniatures. FDM printers can reach similar quality points as the resin printers in terms of quality. But you have to put a lot of effort, labour, and time. With the additional hassle, you have to get to the final product.
The helpful facet of the FDM printers is that they are safer and accessible to handle the product. These printers are a better choice for beginners, but there is no alternative to the SLA printers for professional miniature creation.
After all these discussions, if you are in a dilemma on what to choose, you have to match your preferences with the feature details of both printer types.
You may want to have a quality product with much detailing and a well-finished surface. Then you have to go for the resin 3D printers. In this case, you have to consider the price range and running cost. For the detailing miniatures models, resin printers are the best choice.
But for the solid proto-types for massive production, filament 3D printers are the better choice. Manufacturers go for filament material for 3D model production for its strength, speed, and affordability.