At The 3D Printers, we employ advanced machinery to materialise your ideas. Our cutting-edge 3D printing technology encompasses Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Stereolithography (SLA), and Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) printers. These machines empower us to fabricate superior 3D products, parts, prototypes, and models that align with your precise needs and specifications.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) Printers
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a 3D printing technology that employs a laser to sinter powdered material, typically nylon, layer by layer to create a solid structure. It is one of the fastest 3D printing technologies due to the fast-scanning speed of the lasers and the short exposure time needed for the powders to fuse. This allows for multiple parts to be arranged tightly in the chamber, maximising the available build space and producing more parts faster.
SLS is known for its excellent mechanical properties. The process produces strong adhesion between layers, resulting in parts with good isotropic properties, meaning their tensile strength, hardness, and elongation to break are similar across the x, y, and z axes. This makes SLS-printed parts a good alternative to injection moulded parts for both prototyping and low-volume production.
However, SLS printing does have its disadvantages. The range of materials available for SLS is limited, with most projects using nylon-based materials. The high temperatures required for sintering can cause the print powder to shrink as it cools, potentially leading to less accurate parts. The shrinkage rate can be as high as 3 to 4%, requiring adjustments in the design and volume of the part. Additionally, SLS produces more waste than other additive manufacturing technologies due to the preheating of the powder in the chamber.
Stereolithography (SLA) Printers
Stereolithography (SLA) is a resin 3D printing process known for its ability to produce high-accuracy, isotropic, and watertight prototypes and end-use parts with fine features and smooth surface finishes. SLA printers use light-reactive thermoset materials called “resin.” When exposed to certain wavelengths of light, the resin solidifies into rigid or flexible geometries.
SLA parts have the highest resolution and accuracy, the sharpest details, and the smoothest surface finishes of all 3D printing technologies. The main benefit of SLA lies in its versatility, with a wide range of print materials available. SLA 3D printing is used across various industries, including engineering, manufacturing, dentistry, healthcare, education, entertainment, jewellery, audiology, and more.
Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) Printers
Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) is a popular 3D printing technology that works by melting filament and extruding it onto a printing bed through a nozzle to form layers. The filament is usually a plastic or composite material, like polylactic acid (PLA).
FDM is one of the most affordable 3D printing technologies, making it accessible to a wide range of users. It is also easy to use, with a logical system and a wealth of resources available to help improve prints. FDM is relatively fast, with the ability to adjust the printing speed and layer thickness to suit the needs of the project.
However, FDM does have some limitations. The layer-by-layer approach can create a rough surface with visible lines where the layers meet with some machines. However, we pride ourselves on our smooth, high-quality FDM prints.
At The 3D Printers, we pride ourselves on being problem-solvers as much as printers. We consult closely with our clients to understand their vision and create a roadmap for bringing their unique projects into reality. Our expert team uses advanced CAD software to create precise 3D models, ensuring your design is technically sound and aesthetically pleasing. We offer an extensive selection of printing options to meet your exact needs, and we create high-quality prototypes that allow you to test, revise, and optimise your design before full-scale production.