3D Printing and what its all about.


At Rising Sun FPV Townsville, we offer a wide range of technologies to transform digital designs into physical objects. In this blog post, we will explore two prominent 3D printing technologies: Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Resin Printing.


Let's Dive into Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) First.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is a highly popular 3D printing technology celebrated for its accessibility, versatility, and cost-effectiveness. It serves as the preferred choice for countless hobbyists, makers, and businesses alike, thanks to its straightforward process and wide array of applications.


The FDM Printing Process

FDM 3D printing operates on a layer-by-layer principle. Here's a breakdown of the key steps in the FDM printing process:

  1. Digital Design: The process begins with the creation of a 3D digital model using computer-aided design (CAD) software. This virtual blueprint defines the shape and geometry of the object you want to create.

    (At Rising Sun FPV Townsville we offer CAD design services. If you can't find a specific item you need, let us create it for you. Our expertise covers a wide range of products, from caravan door handles to 6x9 boat speaker holders. Whether you require prototypes or have a unique vision in mind, we're here to bring your ideas to life. Want a life-sized Ned Kelly or Mandalorian figure? We've got you covered.)

  2. Slicing: Specialized slicing software takes the 3D model and divides it into numerous 2D cross-sectional layers. These slices serve as instructions for the printer on how to build the object layer by layer.

    (If you're interested in receiving a quote, please use the following link: Here. If you encounter any challenges while uploading a large file or face other issues, please don't hesitate to reach out to us via email.

  3. Material Extrusion: FDM printers use a thermoplastic filament, typically on a spool, as the raw material. This filament is heated to its melting point and extruded through a nozzle in precise amounts. As it emerges, it fuses with the previous layers to form the object.

  4. Layer-by-Layer Build: The printer moves its nozzle along the X, Y, and Z axes, depositing each layer of molten filament according to the sliced instructions. This layering continues until the entire object is complete.

  5. Cooling and Solidification: As each layer is deposited, it quickly cools and solidifies. This solidification process ensures that the layers adhere properly, forming a cohesive and structurally sound object.

  6. Support Structures: For objects with overhangs or complex geometries, FDM printers often require support structures. These temporary supports help prevent sagging or collapsing during the printing process. Once printing is complete, these supports can be removed.


Key Features of FDM Printing:

  1. Material Variety: FDM printers are compatible with a wide range of thermoplastic materials, including PLA+, ASA, PETG, Polycarbonate, TPU, Nylon, and more. This versatility allows users to select materials that best suit their specific project needs.

  2. Layer Resolution: FDM printers offer a spectrum of layer resolutions, providing users the flexibility to balance print speed with fine detail. Smaller layer heights result in finer details but longer print times.

  3. Affordability: FDM printers are known for their cost-effectiveness, making them accessible to a broad audience, including hobbyists, educators, and small businesses.

  4. Ease of Use: FDM technology is relatively user-friendly, making it an excellent choice for beginners. Many FDM printers are equipped with features such as touchscreen interfaces and auto-leveling systems.

  5. Applications: FDM exhibits versatility and is applicable in various fields, including rapid prototyping, functional part production, educational projects, and even artistic endeavors like sculpture.


Limitations of FDM Printing:

  1. Visible Layer Lines: FDM prints may exhibit noticeable layer lines, which might necessitate post-processing to achieve a smoother surface finish.

  2. Limited Detail: While FDM can produce detailed prints, it may not match the level of intricacy achievable with technologies like Resin 3D printing.

  3. Overhangs and Supports: Complex geometries with overhangs often require support structures, which can be time-consuming to remove and may leave surface imperfections.

Despite these limitations, FDM remains a popular and accessible 3D printing technology, prized for its versatility and cost-efficiency. It's an ideal choice for those seeking to bring their 3D printing projects to life.


Now Let's Dive into Resin Printing.  

Resin 3D printing, also known as stereolithography (SLA) or digital light processing (DLP) printing, is a precise and high-resolution 3D printing technology. Unlike Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), which uses thermoplastic filament, resin 3D printing employs liquid photopolymer resin as its primary material. This technology is favored for its ability to produce incredibly detailed and smooth prints, making it suitable for various applications, particularly those demanding high precision and fine surface finishes.

Key Features of Resin Printing:

  1. High Precision and Detail: One of the standout features of resin 3D printing is its exceptional precision and ability to reproduce intricate details with incredible accuracy. This makes it ideal for applications such as jewelry design, dental models, and small-scale figurines.

  2. Smooth Surface Finish: Resin prints typically exhibit minimal visible layer lines, resulting in a remarkably smooth and polished surface right off the printer. This property reduces the need for extensive post-processing.

  3. Wide Range of Resins: Resin printing offers a variety of resin types, each tailored to specific applications. For instance, there are standard resins, castable resins for jewelry casting, dental resins for dental models, and engineering resins for functional parts.

  4. Precise Z-Axis Control: Resin 3D printers use UV light to cure each layer of resin. This allows for precise control over the curing process, enabling the creation of complex geometries and overhangs.

  5. High Resolution: Resin printers can achieve incredibly high layer resolutions, often measured in microns. This results in prints with sharp edges and fine details.

Resin Printing Process:

The resin 3D printing process involves the following steps:

  1. Digital Design: Just like with FDM printing, the process begins with a 3D digital model created using CAD software.

  2. Slicing: Specialized slicing software generates a series of 2D image layers from the 3D model. These images serve as instructions for the printer.

  3. Printing: The resin printer's build platform descends into a tank filled with liquid resin. A UV light source selectively cures the resin layer by layer, solidifying it into the desired shape.

  4. Layer by Layer Build: The printer continues to lower the build platform and cure each layer until the entire object is complete.

  5. Post-Processing: After printing, the object is removed from the printer and typically requires post-processing, which includes rinsing the object in isopropyl alcohol to remove excess resin and post-curing it under UV light for added strength. 

    Applications of Resin Printing:

    Resin 3D printing excels in applications that demand intricate details, precision, and smooth surface finishes. Some common uses include:

    • Jewelry design and casting
    • Dental models and prosthetics
    • Collectible figurines and miniatures
    • Prototyping for engineering and product design
    • Customized or high-detail miniatures for tabletop gaming

    While resin printing offers exceptional print quality, it's essential to consider safety precautions, as resin materials can be toxic. Proper ventilation and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) are crucial when working with resin 3D printing. Additionally, post-processing steps, such as resin removal and curing, are essential to ensure the final print's strength and durability.

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