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Not all technologies are born equal

October 17, 2013

And that is especially true in 3D printing. I’ve used filament based printers long enough to know that no matter how fast the print head can move there will always be a limitation on how fast the filament is extruded through the hot end. Warping, accuracy and calibration can all be solved with relative ease but speed is bound to remain the same because – whether it’s ABS or PLA – plastic can only melt that fast without burning. On the other hand, SLA and SLS run significantly faster and give more “polished” results on the final print but in exchange you are limited at one material and post processing (washing off residuals) is a pain to handle and can involve substantial waste not to mention the encumbrance of owning such a machine. Therefore SLA and SLS seems more suitable for big factories and industrial workshops rather than on your desk. The only technology that shares the best of both worlds is Polymer jetting, it’s considerably faster than FDM without the downside of SLA and SLS. Moreover, Polymer jetting is built on the foundation of Inkjet, a technology that has become mature and can now perform with amazing speed and accuracy.