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Types of 3D Printers – The Definitive Guide

Want to know what types of 3D printers there are? You’ve come to the right place!

Each technology has different applications, prices and target groups. That’s why we’ve brought them all together in this article and explained what each one is for.

If you want to jump to a particular technology (FDM, SLA, SLS… there are plenty!) you can use the article summary below to check them all at a glance. If you prefer to soak up everything, read on and immerse yourself in the world of 3D printing technologies with us

FDM Filament Printing – The Most Popular Option

For starters, you can find printers that use FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) technology. FDM is a term trademarked by Stratasys, the company that invented this technology, which is why some circles also use the acronym FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication).

After being exclusively controlled by Stratasys for many years, in 2004 the RepRap movement began to create and release free FDM printers, which are the ones that have caused the 3D printing boom of our decade and thanks to which today we can enjoy such varied desktop printers of this technology:

How do these printers work? As the name suggests, they use a thermoplastic filament and melt and extrude it through a nozzle, to deposit the piece layer by layer, from the bottom to the top.

What are the advantages of FDM printers?

The 3D FDM printers are the cheapest, most accessible and most popular of all the different types of printers available. Besides, they are the simplest machines and there is a lot of information online about them, so it is the most suitable technology for those who want to start with 3D printing.

All these advantages make it the ideal printer for companies, offices, workshops, SMEs in general and also very suitable for private users.

What types of 3D FDM printers can we find?

Within this category, you can find several subcategories that you should take into account when purchasing a 3D printer.

Cartesian: it uses the Cartesian X-Y-Z axis, with three axes perpendicular to each other. Its main advantage is in its ease of use, since it is the type of printer with the simplest mechanics and is the easiest to calibrate and correct errors that may arise during use.

Delta: Delta robots contain a static circular printing bed. Its 3 articulated arms at different elevations move up and down to do the job. They stand out for their printing quality at higher speed and for the simplicity of their mechanics, but they are more difficult to calibrate.


Polar: it is based on the polar coordinate system, in which the system starts from a point to go through an angle, a line and the Z axis. The print bed rotates and the extruder and print head move up and down. The printing bed rotates and the extruder and print head move up and down. Its main advantage is that it works with only 2 motors plus the extruder, which means lower costs. It also works a larger volume in a smaller space, although they are the least used.


Robot arm: it is indicated for industrial use and assembly of parts. Among its most outstanding characteristics is the tracking of lines and curved profiles, although it is not at all rigid and does not usually allow the precision of other more specialized machines.


Core XY: it is of Cartesian style, but its mechanism is different. It is ideal to manufacture your own original designs such as the famous DIY “Do It Yourself”, because of its mechanical configuration it allows more speed and reduces inertia, as it does not have the mass of the motors in movement.

How much does it cost to print at FDM?

3D filament printing parts are the most economical to produce, suitable for prototypes, short series and large format 3D printing.

The cost of filament printing is the lowest of all the technologies we are going to talk about, so if you are curious about this topic you can go to our article on the price of 3D printing or ask us directly for a quote so that we can tell you how much your project will cost:

SLA or Stereolithography – Impeccable Finish

SLA or stereolithography technology (also commonly called resin printers) is the one that was created the longest ago. They are the pioneering printers, but they have not stopped advancing and today they are still one of the most used and versatile.

SLA resin printing works with a photopolymer resin tank and a UV laser beam that passes through the shape of the layer and results in the part, which grows on the printer platform. The video in this section can help you understand the process.

The biggest advantage of SLA printers, especially compared to filament printers, is that we can obtain high quality parts without the need for post-processing. It is a technology that allows us to obtain great finishes and details for parts such as prototypes, figures, complex or small parts.

In addition to their great finish, SLA printers have been used for a long time in the industry and in the dental sector, so they have advanced materials to print high added value pieces: biocompatible, sterilizable, high temperature resistant, flexible, transparent, optical materials, etc… It is the technology with more high performance materials available.

They have the disadvantage that it is necessary to wash and cure the parts so that they harden after printing, which requires handling the resins and having a washing and curing station. In addition, the resin stains everything that comes in contact with it and has a strong smell, so it is usually necessary to have a separate, ventilated space for these printers.

DLP – More Resin!

DLP stands for Digital Light Processing. This technology is the twin sister of SLA, the only difference being that the UV light source is a projector or LED spotlight and a screen to draw the image of the coating onto the resin tank.

DLP printers are bringing 3D resin printing to a domestic audience. They work with the same materials as SLA printers, but are easier to manufacture, as they use mobile screens to cure the resin instead of the complex SLA laser system. So right now there are many DLP printers on the market in the low-cost segment that any individual can buy.

They have the same advantages as other resin printers, a great finish and an advanced material ecosystem available to professional users. Like SLA printers, they require a dedicated space to clean and cure the parts.

This technology is known as Selective Laser Sintering. It works similarly to SLA, but the printer’s laser is used to sinter (fuse but not melt) a bed of polymer powder, which is usually nylon (polyamide).

This printer is mainly used in the creation of products for industry, such as educational institutions, research centres, laboratories, etc. They are usually used for functional prototyping and small series production, mainly by companies.

Although it is a technology dominated by large machines, the most famous manufacturer is the German manufacturer EOS, recently new desktop SLS machines have started to emerge that many companies will be able to buy as the Fuse 1 from Formlabs.

HP Multi Jet Fusion – Nylon End Pieces

HP Multi Jet Fusion technology is very similar to the SLS, both are printers that use powder (usually nylon) and a heat source to create the printed parts.

The fundamental difference is the way the powder is sintered (fused at a high temperature): SLS printers use a laser and Multi Jet Fusion printers have an ink jet that “paints” the powder black, so that when a powerful light source passes over it, the black painted particles, which absorb more light, fuse together to form the part.

Multi Jet technology is designed for long runs of parts and produces strong nylon parts, making it one of the most suitable technologies for industrial use and increasingly popular for additive manufacturing of series.

SLM – 3D Metal Printing

This printer is called Selective Laser Melting and is used for manufacturing metal parts.

When we talk about metal printers, we usually talk about SLM technology (Selective Laser Melting), which many people consider a subtype of SLS technology. The procedure is the same, a laser irradiates a surface of metal powder, only in this technology it sometimes goes as far as melting the material.

Among the metals used by this printer are aluminum, silver, steel, titanium…

It is ideal for the creation of pieces with complex structures or in very small quantities, which is why it is a type of printer that stands out in the implant industry, aerospace… and all those that require unique pieces or pieces with special properties.

Binder Jetting Printers

Binder Jetting (BJ) technology printers are one of the most interesting because of the large amount of materials (and even colour!) they offer. Unfortunately for home users these are usually industrial machines.

They are the printers that most resemble a 2D paper printer you have in your home or office, these machines also use cartridges that instead of ink project a binder on a bed of dust of the material we want to use to make our parts.

With this technology, plastic or metal parts can be manufactured (which are then sintered – “fused” – in an oven). Coloured parts can also be made by adding a dye to the powder at the same time.

Some of the most famous BJ printers are the ExOne industrial printers or the also very famous ZPrint.

What type of 3D printer is best suited to your needs?

After explaining the different types of 3D printers you can find, do you know which 3D printer you need?

As you have seen, the different types of technology these printers have respond to different needs, and of course, different budgets. It can be difficult to decide for yourself without having all the information.

How to Select Paint Colors for the Perfect Artist's Palette

How to Select Paint Colors for the Perfect Artist’s Palette

Painters have endless choices when it comes to selecting colors for their painting palettes. Any seasoned artist knows that too many colors can detract from a painting, not enhance it.

With so many different hues and brands, how is a painter suppose to select paint colors to build their perfect palette?

One way to select paint colors for a painters palette is to start with only a few colors. Start with a palette of the primary colors and add on from there. Many artist’s palettes contain at least one or two blues, one or two reds, and one yellow.

Even when you decide to start with three to five colors, how do you tell the difference between each hue? You could purchase a pre-selected set of paints. However, the yellow in that pre-determined set may not be the right yellow for you. Then again, you don’t want to purchase a tube of every paint available. Chances are you cannot afford to do that anyway.

Here is a guide to different hues of different colors, and best choices for creating the perfect artist’s palette for your work.

Color Selection for the Perfect Artist’s Palette

Paint colors all exhibit different levels of opacity or transparency. Colors are also warm or cool. Select the right colors for your purposes.

Blacks

Mars Black should be used in small increments. It is best suited for tinting paint.

Payne’s Gray is the most versatile “black” available. Payne’s gray is a cool, bluish gray that can create shadows. Payne’s Gray can also be used to modify any other color. When diluted with watery, Payne’s gray becomes incredibly delicate. Payne’s gray cans also appear ink-like.

Blue

Cobalt Blue is a cool blue. Cobalt blue is also a softer blue than others. Cobalt blue is a good choice for a landscape artist. When mixed with yellows, delicate greens can be created. Mix cobalt blue with brown and white for a pearly gray color. Use cobalt to shadow pale peach colors.

Creulean Blue is an opaque, cool blue. Creulean blue is a top choice for landscape artists, and can be used to paint skies. Landscapes will also find that when mixed Creulean blue creates greens and grays that are delicate.

Manganese Blue is a bright blue sky hue that is transparent. It can be used to effectively express both water and sky. Seascape artists will want Manganese Blue in their palette.

Thalo blue is a general purpose blue for many artitist’s palettes. Thalo blue is transparent. It is also a cool color. Thalo blue can dominate a painting, so it should be used with a light stroke. Thalo blue makes a good choice for watercolor washes, or for an acrylic glaze painting.

Ultramarine Blue is a warm, not a cool blue. Ultramarine blue is also a transparent blue, which makes it an ideal blue for glazing techniques. Ultramarine is the most versatile blue, and for that reason, is the best blue for any artist’s palette.

Ultramarine blue can be blended with other colors for a range of new colors. Ultramarine blue can be mixed with yellow ochre paints to make subtle and soft greens.

To make purple, do not mix Ultramarine Blue with a cadmium red unless you are trying to make a purple color is cloudy and muddy. Instead, mix Ultramarine Blue with transparent crimson, instead, to make a very useful violet color.

Browns

Many shades of brown can be made by mixing a warm red with green. Adding yellow to that resulting brown also creates a family of yellow, earthy browns. For tube browns consider these colors:

Raw Sienna is a somewhat opaque brown. Raw Sienna is a warm brown.

Burnt Umber is a deep brown. Burn umber is somewhat opaque. It can be mixed with blue and white to create cool gray colors.

Raw Umber is a yellowish brown. Raw umber is subtle and subdued. It is best used when mixed with other colors to produce a range of color tones.

Greens

Chromium Oxide Green – Chromium Oxide green is an almost dusty green. It resembles a faded olive green. Chromium Oxide Green is an opaque green and will not reveal the underneath color or underpainting. Chromium Oxide Green is an earthy color that can be used to indicate shadow, or used in an underpainting.

Hooker’s Green – Hooker’s Green is a transparent green. Hooker’s Green is a must for any landscape painter. When mixed with other earthy browns and yellows, Hooker’s Green can create an endless outdoor palette of nature. Hooker’s green is also a soft green.

Thalo Green – Thalo Green is a vivid green. Thalo green is also a transparent paint, which is ideal for glazing techniques. Thalo green is a strong tinting color. Thalo green, when not toned down will actually jump of the canvas at the viewer. One way to warm up Thalo green is with a brown or red. Any palette with Thalo Green should also include one of those colors.

Mix Thalo Green with a transparent yellow to increase its intensity

Reds

Alzarin Crimson

Cadmium Red comes in light, medium and dark. Cadmium Red is a dense and opaque red. When mixed with yellow, it makes a perfect orange.

Cadmium Red Hue is a substitute for Cadmium Red. The hue is not as brilliant as Cadmium Red.

Thalo Crimson is a bright and transparent red.

Yellows

Yellow is a color that cannot be created, unless you are making your own paints. The yellow pigment, however, cannot be created. Select at least one yellow for your palette.

Azo Yellow

Cadmium Yellow comes in light, medium, or dark. Artists could start with medium, but will find that the light Cadmium Yellow offers the most versatility. Cadmium Yellow is more opaque than transparent, do not be fooled because it is considered a “light” color.

Cadmium yellow can be mixed with many earth colors to create diverse landscape palettes.

Hansa Yellows Light also comes in in light, medium, or dark. Hansa Yellow is a transparent, lemony yellow. Hansa yellow also adds a delicate quality to paintings.

White

Watercolor purists will not touch white. The white for watercolorists is the white of the paper. Acrylic painters, on the other hand, live and die by large tubes of white paint.

Titanium is the only choice for acrylic painters seeking a dense, bright white.

An Easy Guide to Create an Acrylic Painting

An Easy Guide to Create an Acrylic Painting

Creating an acrylic painting is relatively easy, even if its your first time making a painting. The texture of acrylic is simple to use. Acrylic paints are thicker in texture. If this is your first time painting, it is perfectly fine to use paints and materials of a lesser brand or quality, such as from Wal-Mart.

All the materials required can be found in the Arts and Crafts section of Wal-Mart, so just one trip is all you need. The materials you need for a simple acrylic painting are:

-A canvas of any size

-Variety of paint brushes

-Variety of cheap, acrylic paints

  • Paint trays (little plastic trays to separate and put paints in)

-Acrylic Gesso

-Large foam brush, usually a black foam on a wooden stick

-Pencils

-Ruler

-A large eraser

To paint, make sure to assemble newspaper on the work site, and wear old clothing so you won’t sacrifice any good clothing. Also, it’s helpful to have paper towels and a cup of clear water for cleaning off the brushes. Before anything, use the black, foam brush and apply the Acrylic Gesso on the canvas. The Gesso will help create a good, textured surface on which to paint on.

Paint the Gesso on in long strokes, and in one direction. When that layer dries, paint more Gesso on there, and again in long strokes and in the opposite direction. So if the first time you painted up and down, this time do side to side. You want to create a completely even surface and you want to let it dry until it’s completely set.

So decide on a painting you want to do. Make sure it’s something simple that you can manage, like a fruit, or a simple animal like a Koi fish or a bird. You can make a flower, or a caricature with simple lines like Mickey Mouse. You’ll find out pretty fast that trying to freehand a drawing on the canvas can be extremely hard. What I have done that works is this: I find an image that I want to draw and print it out.

I use the ruler to make horizontal and vertical lines on the drawing with the pencil to make a grid of equal squares. Then you do the same thing with your canvas. With the pencil, lightly draw on the canvas as you make the grid on it with the ruler. Keep the dimensions the same. So if on your image you have 12 squares on the grid, have 12 squares on the canvas. Now, square by square, transfer the outline of the image onto the canvas. This method makes it easier to transfer the image on the canvas because you are using each individual square as a guide. Take your time with this step. It might take a little while.

Now you are ready to paint. Use the paints you have and to create an interesting effect, blend colors together on the canvas. Experiment with the different brushes. Smaller brushes will create finer lines, larger brushes can create effects that are more feathered or bolder. You can pour a bit of paint on the paint trays and even experiment with mixing colors. It’s easier to outline everything on your image in black, and then paint in the lines, or you can be brave and not use black lines. But it always helps to make an outline with the paint and blend it into the painting. You can add water to the acrylic to create a more water color effect, for example with making a soft background. The paint will cover up any pencil marks.

This is how you make a beautiful, simple acrylic painting. Have fun. The more you do it, the better you get. The better quality acrylics are not as thick, but still very easy and fun to work with. Start small and above all else, have fun!