6 Questions to ask before buying a 3D Printer!

Indecisive?! We are here for you. We know that getting a professional 3D Printer is not an easy decision, especially when you’re tight with your business budget. Here is a guide for question marks to draw before spending your money.

1.What is my Objective?

What you need a 3D Printer for? 

3D printing varies of manufacturing capabilities, technical details and a wide range of prices. Is your 3D printer for an industrial application? A small business? Education? A hobby? Determining your objective behind the purchase might save you plenty of time and money.

2. What Technology should I follow?

Plenty of technologies and results..

3D printing adopts more than one technology with different methods and results from each other. The trick here is to be familiar enough with the outcome you need from the process in order to choose wisely. In the upcoming lines a quick listing for the most known and used technologies in the market:

1. FDM – Fused Deposition Modelling:

if you are looking to print a wide variety of materials with strong mechanical properties or even being able to make multi-material prints, the FDM route is the best.

Common applications for FDM include electrical housings, form and fit testing, jigs and fixtures, and investment casting patterns.

Strengths of FDM are that it offers the best surface finish plus full color along with the fact there are multiple materials available for its use.

2. SLA – Stereolithography:

if you are looking for better surface finishes, accuracy and fine details, SLA is the choice.

It is the world’s first 3D printing technology, It works by a 3D printing method called Vat Polymerization where a material called a photopolymer resin (Standard, Castable, Transparent, High Temperature) in a vat is selectively cured by a light source.

3. Digital light processing (DLP)

it is a 3D printing technology and is almost the same type of machine as SLA. The main difference being DLP uses a digital light projector that flashes a single image of each layer all at one time - or does multiple flashes for larger parts.

Common applications for SLA and DLP are injection mold-type polymer prototypes, jewelry, dental applications, and hearing aids.

Their strengths are they have fine feature details and smooth surface finish.

4. Selective laser sintering (SLS)

Common applications for SLS are the manufacturing of functional parts, complex ducting requiring hollow designs, and low-run production.

Its strengths are in the creation of functional parts, parts with good mechanical properties, and with complex geometries.

5. Material jetting (MJ)

is a 3d printing technology whose process goes by the same name. It uses photopolymer resin (standard, castable, transparent, high temperature) and works in a way similar to the common inkjet printer. The difference is, instead of printing a single layer of ink, multiple layers are built upon one another, creating a solid object.

6. Drop on demand (DOD) 

Common applications for MJ and DOD are full-color product prototypes, prototypes similar to injection molding, low-run injection molds, and medical models.

7. Sand binder jetting

The process is similar to SLS as it requires an initial layer of powder, in this case, sand or silica, on the build platform.

8. Metal binder jetting

it uses Binder Jetting for the fabrication of metal objects. The metal powder is bound using a polymer binding agent. It allows the production of objects with complex geometries that are far beyond the capabilities of conventional manufacturing techniques.

9. Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) and selective laser melting (SLM)

These are 3D printing technologies that use Metal Powder Bed Fusion, the process where a heat source is utilized to fuse metal particles one layer at a time.

10. Electron beam melting (EBM)

It also uses the Metal Powder Bed Fusion process. Unlike DMLS and SLM, instead of a laser, it uses a high energy beam of electrons for inducing fusion between metal particles in a powder

3. What Materials my business needs in the 3D Printer?

Materials vary when it comes to 3D printing based on the usage, type and technology.

a. Industrial: (Onyx, Carbon Fiber, Fiberglass, Kevlar and HSHT Fiberglass (High-Strength High-Temperature Fiberglass)

b. Metal: (Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Tool Steel, Inconel and Titanium)

c. (PLA, PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol), Nylon, CPE (Copolyester), ABS, Polycarbonate, Polypropylene)

d. 3D printers can print with a variety of resins and waxes such Rigid Resin, Tough Resin, Durable Resin, High Temperature Resin, Flexible Resin, Castable Resin and Castable Wax Resin etc.

4.Does the printer have a heated print bed/Heated Chamber?

One of the most essential aspects required for a great print, is the adhesion of the first layer to the printing surface. Some materials will not adhere to the surface unless it is heated to a specific temperature.

Also, heated chamber is important in 3D printing. When the print is finished, the temperature in the chamber will slowly cool down. This is to ensure high mechanical properties and dimensional accuracy for the printed part.

 5.How often will the printer need to be leveled?

Ensuring your print bed is level before printing is a critical step in achieving great prints. The more your printer jostles out of alignment, the more often you need to stop to re-level your printer.

6. Do I need specific software?

A 3D printer is only as good as the design it's given to print. To design and format prints, you'll need the right software -- specifically design and slicing software. There are many options to meet every ability level and budget, but all printers are compatible and some even require the use of proprietary software.

Made your decision yet?!, if you’re still confused don’t worry Ultimate Solutions is here for you with comprehensive services and consultancy before making any purchase. 

We deal with international brands such as Markforged and German RepRap bringing the updated quality based on your business’s needs.