Selecting the most suitable Additive Manufacturing (AM) process for a particular application can be difficult. The very large range of available 3D Printing technologies and materials often means that several of them may be viable, but each offers variations in dimensional accuracy, surface finish and post-processing requirements.
Photopolymerization occurs when a photopolymer resin is exposed to the light of a specific wavelength and undergoes a chemical reaction to become solid.
Powder Bed Fusion
Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) technologies produce a solid part using a thermal source that induces fusion (sintering or melting) between the particles of a plastic or metal powder one layer at a time.
Similar to how toothpaste is squeezed out of a tube, material extrusion technologies extrude a material through a nozzle and onto a build plate. The nozzle follows a predetermined path building layer-by-layer.
Material jetting is often compared to the 2D ink jetting process. Photopolymers, metals or wax that cure or harden when exposed to UV light or elevated temperatures can be used to build parts one layer at a time. The nature of the material jetting process allows for multi-material printing.
Binder jetting is the process of dispensing a binding agent onto a powder bed to build a part one layer at a time. These layers bind to one another to form a solid component.
Direct Energy Deposition
Direct Energy Deposition (DED) creates parts by melting powder material as it is deposited. It is predominantly used with metal powders or wire and is often referred to as metal deposition.