3D Printing Technologies Guides
There are a variety of 3D printing technologies for printing plastics, metals, and various other materials in complex geometric shapes. We have written guides on all the major 3D printing technologies for manufacturing, and also some innovative new 3D printing technologies.
You can also download our FREE 3D printing eBook explaining all the main 3D printing technologies in depth. Download it here.
Plastic 3D Printing Technologies
Stereolithography was the first 3D printing technology to be invented, and involves using a UV laser to cure liquid photopolymer resins. It’s the best 3D printing technology for intricate and models with complex geometries.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Fused Deposition Modeling is the most accessible 3D printing technology, with FDM 3D printers by far the cheapest to pick up for new makers. It involves depositing melted filament on a build platform to create a finished part.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Selective Laser Sintering is another important plastic 3D printing technology which unlike the others does not require supports — saving time and money. It involves heating plastic powders to create a solid object inside the build tank.
Metal 3D Printing Technologies
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
Pioneered by 3D printing manufacturing company EOS and dominated by EOS, 3D Systems and Stratasys, DMLS is not dissimilar to SLS but involves sintering metal powder to create a solid metal part.
- Read our full direct metal laser sintering guide here.
Electron Beam Melting (EBM)
A more niche but still used metal 3D printing technology, 3D printing manufacturing companies such as Arcam sell EBM 3D printers. The difference between EBM and DMLS is that while DMLS uses a laser, EBM instead uses an electron beam in the printing process.
Another more niche but still used metal 3D printing technology, Binder Jetting has enjoyed increasing popularity as of late. This may because it can be used to not only print metal parts, but also sandstone parts too.
Directed Energy Deposition
Rather than sintering metal powder like DMLS, DED 3D printing melts and deposits metal simultaneously, somewhat like soldering. A metal wire or feedstock is fed through the printer’s extruder and melted. It’s also used to fix metal parts via cladding.
New 3D Printing Technologies
Multi Jet Fusion
Despite only entering the 3D printing manufacturing industry recently, HP have already developed their own ways of 3D printing for manufacturing. MultiJet Fusion allows for large, full-color parts to be made at fast speeds.
CLIP (Carbon 3D)
Carbon 3D are leaders of extremely fast 3D printing manufacturing applications, with their CLIP technology able to print exponentially faster than previous technologies. As a result, a number of large 3D printing services now offer CLIP technology.