3D PRINTING MATERIALS
FDM Fused Deposition Modelling
ABS can be bought in ﬁlament form from a number of non proprietary sources, which is another reason why it is so popular.
PLA is a bio-degradable plastic material that has gained traction with 3D printing for this
very reason. It can be utilized in resin format for DLP/SL processes as well as in ﬁlament form
for the FDM process. It is oﬀered in a variety of colors, including transparent, which has proven
to be a useful option for some.
Photopolymers are materials that can transform from a liquid to a solid almost instantaneously when
the right kind of light shines on them. These materials are great for additive manufacturing. The first type of additive manufacturing was termed stereolithography by its inventor Charles Hall, who founded and leads 3D Systems today. From the word stereolithography comes the standard 3D-printed object file type, STL, invented by Mr. Hall in the late 1980s. Today's 3D printers and software still use the STL file type for most common printing operations; a few more modern file types are emerging as new variations on full-color and blended-material 3D printing become possible. SLA fabrication is often used for highresolution object fabrication, providing highly detailed surfaces, as in the case of jewelry master designs for molding and casting. Stereolithography uses focused UV light to transform liquid photopolymer plastic into solid form. (See Figure 2-3.) The process takes place upon a movable platform above a reservoir of the photopolymer plastic. The platform submerges into the reservoir just enough to create a thin layer of liquid. An ultraviolet laser passes back and forth over the liquid to create the first layer of the object. By lowering the platform to allow more liquid to cover the first layer, the second layer can be constructed atop the first. Each layer must connect to the one below or to a support structure that can later be removed in order to keep the object from floating out of position as the new layers are added and more fluid polymer is poured atop it.
Selective Laser Sintering SLS
Nylon, or Polyamide, is commonly used in powder form with the sintering process or in
ﬁlament form with the FDM process. It is a strong, ﬂexible and durable plastic material that has
proved reliable for 3D printing. It is naturally white in color but it can be colored — pre- or post
printing. This material can also be combined (in powder format) with powdered aluminium to
produce another common 3D printing material for sintering — Alumide. ABS is another
common plastic used for 3D printing, and is widely used on the entry-level FDM 3D printers in
ﬁlament form. It is a particularly strong plastic and comes in a wide range of colors.
“Working with Rob and his company was a real pleasure as he delivered designs, then a prototype and lastly a full replica for our project. I also work with him at the Buffalo Lab in the Foundry and he is a valuable resource on 3D design and printing that all members benefit from. If I need something designed Mad Jack’s is the right company to work with!”.
Director of Information Technology – Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS
Author:Vice Chairman of Infotech.
Rob is a gifted and multi-faceted artist whose talent seems to accelerate and multiply with each new technology he encounters.