FDM vs polyjet finish

FDM vs. Polyjet printing technologies

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and PolyJet are two excellent printing technologies, each with their own strengths. Which one is right for you? FDM technology is more suited for industrial applications because of it’s utilization of very durable and sturdy thermoplastics. PolyJet technology on the other hand is better suited for more artistic projects. PolyJet employs the use of photopolymers which solidify on contact with UV light. This allows PolyJet technologies to be of a higher resolution and very precise. It is however brittle and over time less stable then the sturdy thermoplastics of FDM technology.  Both technologies have the option of printing in color, but for painting post printing, PolyJet is the better choice. When looking at the price aspect of these technologies, over the long term the cost of FDM technologies should be cheaper because the printing material is cheaper. PolyJet technologies have advanced printing heads that are more expensive to replace and their printing materials can be more expensive as well. What it really comes down to is the applications of the printer. Most companies have both types of printers to cover a wide spectrum of printing applications. For the individual user who is doing artistic projects, a PolyJet printer is recommended. For an individual who is building prototypes or working on larger projects that are meant to be used, a FDM printer is advised.

 

Fused Deposition Modeling

FDM technology involves extruding threads of melted plastic that are built up layer by layer to create the part. A common material used is ABS, the same plastic that Legos are made of. FDM parts are good for industrial applications they are tough and durable. It is not uncommon for people to print parts for actual use.

Polyjet

Polyjet technology uses a liquid polymer that is applied using heads similar to those on an inkjet printer. The polymer is called a “photopolymer” because it is hardened with UV light. A new liquid layer is laid onto each hardened layer, building up the part. Polyjet printing is more precise and has smoother surfaces than FDM printing. It is good for printing small, intricate parts or artistic projects where surface finish is important. The drawback to polyjet parts is that they are sometimes brittle and over time less stable then the sturdy thermoplastics of FDM technology. 

What about color printing?

Both technologies have the option of printing in color, but for painting after printing, FDM is a good choice because spray paint sticks to it very well.

How about price?

When looking at the price aspect of these technologies, over the long term the cost of FDM technologies should be cheaper because the printing material is cheaper. PolyJet technologies have advanced printing heads that are more expensive to replace and their printing materials can be more expensive as well. What it really comes down to is the applications of the printer. Most companies have both types of printers to cover a wide spectrum of printing applications. For the individual user who is doing artistic projects, a PolyJet printer is recommended. For an individual who is building prototypes or working on larger projects that are meant to be used, a FDM printer is advised.