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What Are the Common Types of 3D Printers?

3D printing and additive manufacturing industries have been refined and adapted for a larger market, making the technology more affordable, easier to use, and more capable. After becoming the go-to machine for hobbyists, 3D printers are now highly capable machines for industrial purposes, from aeroplane manufacturing, dentistry, jewellery and much more.

Integrating 3D printing into the business workflow improves product prototyping, development and production. Helping professionals reduce outsourcing costs and optimise manufacturing processes, leading to increases in sales and higher preforming business models.

Turn your conceptual ideas into tangible products with Emona Instrument's industry-leading additive manufacturing products; the following article breaks down Emona's top three types of 3D printers.

What is an FDM 3D Printer?

Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), also known as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) is the most common form of 3D printing at the consumer level. It is often the first type of 3D technology people are exposed to.

In FDM printing, objects are built by melting materials through a heated nozzle, in a pre-determined method layer by layer. The primary materials used include thermoplastic filaments, such as ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and PLA (Polylactic Acid). The type of materials used will affect the mechanical properties, accuracy parts and total production prices.

FDM 3D printers are the most cost-effective way to produce custom thermoplastic parts and functional phototypes, best suited for prototyping and some non-commercial functional applications. FDM is fundamentally anisotropic, as its system produces vertically layer by layer; therefore, this type of 3D printing is not recommended for mechanically critical components.

What is an SLA 3D Printer?

Stereolithography (SLA) is the second most popular type of 3D printers on the market. SLA is a type of additive manufacturing that uses a light source – a laser or projector – to form liquid resin into hardened plastic. This 3D printing process has become popular quickly for its ability to produce highly accurate and high-resolution smooth surfaces. Fine features and mechanical attributes like isotropy, water tightness, and material versatility, can also be achieved.

However, SLA's main benefit lies in its versatility, offering a wide range of optical, mechanical and thermal properties. SLA technology has come very far, with today's small-format desktop printers producing industrial-quality objects, at substantially more affordable price points and unmatched versatility.

The Formlabs Form 2 3D printer is the industry's leading desktop SLA 3D printer. With two high precision models, the Form series offers a high-quality surface finish that isn't possible with other desktop printers. Emona is proud to be an authorised Formlabs Australian distributor. As well as the product, we provide factory-trained technical support and service to support your Formlabs investment.

What is the Best Industrial 3D Printer?

As 3D printers are popular among hobbyists for leisurely uses, it can be difficult to sift through the cheaper printers, to find a machine that fits professional and industrial needs. Emona's range of 3D Printers and Scanners satisfies a range of budgets and requirements; stocking 3D printers capable of plastic, resin and even metal output so that you can create almost anything.

The best industrial 3D printer depends entirely on what you wish to achieve. For factory and production manufacturing, large format printers would best suit you. For engineering designs, you'll need to decide if a higher performance printer is worth the extra few thousand dollars. For smaller-scale shops like jewellery designers or sculptures, resin SLA printers can produce fine and intricate details.

It is crucial to source a high-quality 3D printer and understand the quality of printing relies on the quality of your printers' accessories and materials. With Emona's large inventory of globally trusted 3D printers and market-leading 3D printing materials, it is possible to upgrade your printer to the highest quality.

Bringing 3D Printers In-House

While it has been common practice to outsource 3D printing to service bureaus or labs, this is only a beneficial option when printing is required occasionally or for one-off applications. With the growing demand for 3D production, outsourcing becomes expensive and no longer profitable. More and more companies choose to bring 3D printing in-house, as common printers have a fast turnaround time, allowing for quick design changes and cost savings.

Whether you are looking for high-quality electronic test and measure instruments, test and tag instruments, state of the art 3D printers, 3D printer accessories or engineering teaching & research equipment, Emona supplies only globally trusted manufacturers. Emona caters for a range of budgets, functions and technologies, suitable for R & D professionals, production lines or the classroom.

Each one of our products - from Markforged carbon fibre composite and metal printers printing in stainless steel, tool steel, copper and Inconel, through to Formlabs SLA resin printers, the Emona team are ready to help with expert advice and benchmark sample part printing. Contact the Emona for more information or technical support on (02) 9519 3933, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.emona.com.au/markforged.

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