where to buy fincar no prescription 3D Printing Face-Off: FDM vs. SLA

buy Lyrica online ireland September 25, 2015

There are two main 3D printers in the Tesseract Design shop: an old workhorse of a FDM printer, the Makerbot Replicator 2x, and a fancy-but-finicky SLA printer, the FSL3D Pegasus Touch. I put these two printers head-to-head on an identical printing project and compared the results. I tried to make this as much of an apples-to-apples comparison as I could, and eliminate tech-specific issues from the test. The results weren’t nearly as clear-cut as I had anticipated.

Continue Reading The 3D Print: Octopus

The first challenge was to find a print that would be somewhat challenging, but not too large or difficult to print. I ultimately decided on an octopus model from Thingiverse. The octopus is a popular print for use in promotional materials for 3D printers. It’s got a nice, smooth organic shape. Most importantly, the conical shape of the octopus eliminated the need for support structures. Since the two printers have two very different ways of generating supports, this was important for a fair comparison.

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Rendering of octopus model

The print was performed with a layer height of 0.1 millimeters. This represented the highest resolution of the Replicator 2X, and the lowest resolution for the Pegasus Touch. Also, the print was solid – 100% infill. The Makerbot slicer allows the user to choose an infill value, but the Pegasus slicer only allows for hollowing-out (“shelling”) the model. In order to keep things even, I didn’t shell the Pegasus model, and selected 100% infill for the Replicator 2X.

Print Time

Well, no, it isn’t actually, as the test ended up demonstrating. Nevertheless, that is one area where SLA printing typically has an advantage over extruded FDM printing. The SLA tech uses a laser to cure liquid resin by layer, so the layer can be formed just as quickly as the laser beam can be made to sweep out the shape of the layer. The one drawback with the SLA printer is that the build plate has to lift  out of the resin tank and lower itself back into position with each layer, adding time to the print. The FDM tech requires a mechanical assembly to move around while the extruder squeezes out the heated filament, a process which is much slower.

Not surprisingly, the SLA printer won on this category. The FDM printer took 3 hours and 36 minutes to print out the octopus (including 11 minutes to warm up the build plate and print head). The SLA printer took no more than 1 hour and 53 minutes to complete the print. (Okay, I wasn’t paying attention, and the stopwatch was at 1:53 when I noticed the print had finished.) So the SLA printer completed the job  in approximately half the time than did the FDM printer.

WINNER: SLA/PEGASUS TOUCH

Post-Processing

When the “print job done” notification goes off, there is still work to do: all 3D prints require some finishing. This is an area where the SLA printer is at an automatic disadvantage. The print is still coated with sticky resin that needs to be washed off with isopropyl alcohol. This means donning gloves to chisel the print from the build plate, then soaking it an an alcohol bath. Even then the resin isn’t fully cured, and needs to sit in front of a UV-intensive light source for a bit. For me, that means sitting on the windowsill in direct sunlight (if such can be found in Portland) for at least a day. Overall, the SLA printer requires a fair amount of effort after the print is done.

The FDM printer is not without its problems. Usually, it’s an easy matter to remove the print once it’s cooled down, and remove the raft material. (The raft is a layer of material laid down on the print bed before the actual print begins, to help with adhesion.) In some cases – like this one – the raft can be very difficult to remove. For the octopus, I had to very forcefully use an X-acto knife to get the raft off the main part of the body. Bandaids on standby, please! Nevertheless, it was a lot less effort and mess than the SLA printer.

WINNER: FDM/REPLICATOR 2X

Print Quality

The proof of the pudding is in the tasting, and ultimately the quality of the print is the final arbiter of the success of the job. Both printers had their problems. It should be noted that neither printer had been “tuned” prior to printing. They both ran the tests in as-is condition.

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The test prints: the Replicator 2X on the left and the Pegasus Touch on the right.

The FDM printer had a few artifacts, most notably stringers running between the coils at the ends of the tentacles. There were also a few small areas on the back of the head where the layers slumped, but these were not very noticeable.

Unfortunately, the SLA printer exhibited an intermittent issue which caused extraneous layers of material to be cured. These are seen as webs between tentacles and “fins” growing out of the head. While these artifacts could be removed with an knife, they really shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

WINNER: DRAW

Conclusion

With the three categories considered, it seems that the overall contest would be a draw. To be honest, I’m going to give the nod the the Replicator 2X in the contest. The machine may not consistently produce the smoothest prints, but it has been a reliable workhorse, having logged over 1,200 hours of build time. The Pegasus Touch, on the other hand, has been problematic since it was first booted up. (For more information, see this post and this post.) The most frustrating part is that the Pegasus Touch is capable of producing great prints, but it seems only after spending a lot of time communicating with FSL3D’s tech support and using up consumables troubleshooting the problems. Perhaps this is not an issue with other SLA printers, but it sure has been a problem with mine, alas.

Still, it was interesting to see how both printers fared with identical jobs. I’ll give the edge to the Replicator 2X, as it produced a surprisingly detailed print with minimum finishing issues, even though the print time was considerably longer.

WINNER (ON POINTS): FDM/REPLICATOR 2X

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For more information on how Tesseract Design can provide you with 3D printing solutions, please see www.tesseract-design.com/3-d-printing