ABS 3D Printed Part
Each week we speak with customers interested in an ABS 3D printed part. Often what they think they need for an ABS part, is not actually what they really need. It happens frequently enough that we’ve now included a page on our website to help customers understand what they may actually be looking for. SLS vs. FDM 3D Printing
As the first company in Canada to own and operate FDM technology, (the 3D printing process that produces prototypes in ABS material), we know very well the capabilities of 3D printed ABS parts. What may surprise you is that although the parts are made in ABS, they actually are not the best 3d printing option if you want to test your prototype for function and accuracy.
FDM ABS Parts
The process called FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling), operates using extruding heads (like a glue gun) and ABS material on a spool. When building a part, it extrudes one layer at a time on top of the next. So imagine building a box with a glue gun, one layer at a time. The material is laid on top of the layer below, so if you were to force break the part it would most likely break between a layer. (You can see in the magnified image below the crosshatching effect of the FDM process.
SLS Nylon More True To Injection Molding
With the SLS process the material is laid out one layer at a time, then a laser comes along and melts that layer of powder AND melts half way down into the layer below. Because of the material being melted one layer to the next, it more accurately represents an injection molded part. Having said that, your SLS nylon part (although not ABS) will function more true to an injection molded ABS part than the part made with the FDM process and ABS. (in the magnified image of an SLS nylon part below, you can see it is melted to be create a solid part.)