SLA vs SLS 3D Printing – What is the difference?

sla vs sls

Additive manufacturing (AM), also called additive layer manufacturing (ALM), is the most common 3D printing technology used in different industries. It is a computer-aided process that produces three-dimensional objects by depositing materials, usually in layers.

You can find many technologies and variants, but the SLA and SLS 3D printing technologies are the most widespread within the industry.

CAD Deziners, providing both SLS and SLA 3D printing services in Sydney, will let you know the difference between these technologies in this blog. Keep reading to get a good explanation!

Overview of SLA and SLS 3D printing technologies

We first present an overview of both 3D technologies with their advantages. We will then highlight the key differences between them.

Selective photopolymerization of resins (SLA)

SLA refers to stereolithography technology. In this process, a liquid photo-polymer is converted into a solid plastic layer using a laser. Each layer is different, and a 3D model is created on a perforated plate.

This technology appeared in the 80s, and today, SLA allows printing on a wide range of materials with good mechanical properties. Many companies use it to make detailed parts through vacuum casting polyurethane and silicone moulds.

Advantages of SLA

  • -Relatively fast turnaround times
  • -Suitable for models complex in nature
  • -Simple scalability
  • -No human factor
  • -No wasted materials
  • -Support biomedical moulding

Selective laser sintering (SLS)

On the other hand, SLS 3D printing technology was also commercially developed in the mid-1980s. Like SLA, SLS uses layered printing that solidifies the liquid. This technology uses a higher power laser that sinters plastic powder. The material used is Polyamide/Nylon, although Polyamide with fibreglass filler is also used.

Traditionally, parts manufactured with this 3D technology offer more excellent resistance than those produced in SLA.

Advantages of SLS

  • -High-resolution levels
  • -Fast and smooth production
  • -Fantastic mechanical properties
  • -Stiffness with high strength
  • -Wide selection of materials

The difference between SLA and SLS 3D printing technologies

The overview of SLA and SLS technologies has highlighted the difference between them. Now, we highlight some fundamental differences in the following:

  • The processed material – SLS uses solid materials, including polyamide powder, glass-filled nylon, alumide, and carbon fibre-filled nylon. In SLA technology, the materials (also called substitutions materials) include resin (liquid base) for 3D printing.
  • The properties of the printed object – The SLS printed objects have resistance to high temperatures with greater impact resistance. The SLA does not resist high temperatures well, becoming deformed at above 60 degrees Celsius, and is less resistant to impacts.

Which 3D printing technology is better?

When assessing which of the two 3D printing technologies is better, something that many ask us, the answer is: it depends on your aim and what kind of object you want. The needs of some are different from those of others.

Clearly, anyone needing a robust product will have to focus on SLS 3D printers. On the other hand, SLA 3D printers are suitable for those who just want to get a prototype quickly and don’t want to go through the hassle of hand-finishing objects.

Final Words

3D printing technology encompasses different technologies within the broader term. As highlighted in this blog, the top two technologies currently used worldwide are SLS and SLA, dominating the market.

We hope this blog will help you know the differences between these technologies and choose the one that best suits your printing needs.

If you have any printing project, regardless of the industry, come to CAD Deziners for both SLA and SLS 3D printing services in Sydney. We have advanced 3D printers and highly skilled technicians, so you can expect the best 3D-printed objects every time!

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