When it comes to manufacturing, finding the right method is key. You need to end up with a product that not only performs as it needs to but also is cost-efficient to produce in the quantities you need.
Additive manufacturing is a modern method that opens a lot of creative doors. 3D printing and Stereolithography are two additive manufacturing methods used in modern manufacturing that have a lot in common, but also have a few key differences that may make one or the other a better option for your project.
Both 3D printing and stereolithography are based on computer models. Once you upload a properly formatted and designed 3D model into the computer attached to the machine, it will produce a product that matches those exact specifications, no matter how odd the angles of it are.
3D printing is different from Stereolithography in that it sinters together layers of material using a UV laser. The material is kept in a tank in a powdered form. These materials are sensitive to UV light, so when the laser touches it, it solidifies. As a layer is completed, the build platform lowers so the next layer can be sintered together.
Stereolithography works by building up material is extruded from a nozzle, which then prints the layer and moves to the next one. The material being printed has to be very hot to be able to print. The build surface does not contain any material to start with.
The major difference between the two is found in the kinds of materials they can work with. 3D printers are best known for working with plastics. This includes hard plastics, rubbery plastics, plastics that are mixed with wood, and a variety of nylon polymers. 3D printing, by contrast, uses various polymers and can even work with metals.
So which one to use for your product, stereolithography or 3D printing? It depends on what you are looking to produce. 3D printing is great for plastic parts of many sizes; it is a great choice for prototypes if you are looking to test a smaller design. 3D printing is what you must use to produce metal parts and is also very useful for prototyping. The cost of 3D printing versus the cost of stereolithography is another concern: usually, 3D printing is more expensive, though this depends on the material, size, and complexity of your product.
At JawsTec, our team are additive manufacturing experts. Whether you are looking to use stereolithography, 3D printing, or aren’t sure, our team can help you with every phase of your project, from design to finishing. Contact us today for a quote so you get your next project rolling!