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Process-specific design rules

ISO/ASTM Definitions

The following table presents definitions and illustrations of the basic concepts of families of AM technologies.

Powder bed fusion (PBF) - AM process in which thermal energy selectively fuses regions of a powder bed

Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) principle

Directed energy deposition (DED) - AM process in which focused thermal energy is used to fuse materials by melting as they are being deposited

Direct Energy Deposition (DED) principle

Material extrusion (ME) – AM process in which material is selectively dispensed through a nozzle or orifice

Material Extrusion (ME) principle

Binder jetting (BJ) – AM process in which a liquid bonding agent is selectively deposited to join powder materials

Binder Jetting (BJ) principle

Material jetting (MJ) - AM process in which droplets of build material are selectively deposited

Material Jetting (MJ) principle

Vat photopolymerization (VATP) - AM process in which liquid photopolymer in a vat is selectively cured by light-activated polymerization

VAT Photopolymerization (VAT P) principle

Sheet lamination (SL) – AM process in which sheets of material are bonded to form a part

Sheet Lamination (SL) principle

Comparison of technologies

These AM processes, apart from the common “layer-by-layer” manufacturing principle, differ in:

  • types of materials and material state (powder, liquid, threads (“wire”), foils, sheets),
  • method of joining of the layers,
  • layer thickness and manufacturing resolution in x-y plane,
  • production rate,
  • maximal dimensions of products, and
  • the need for technological support

which is reflected in the differences in the quality of parts, mechanical characteristics, production costs and the needs and extent of post-processing.

The following table (source: 3D Printing Handbook ) lists the materials, dimensional accuracy, advantages and disadvantages, as well as common applications of families of AM technologies, and it may serve as a brief guide for selection of the appropriate AM process depending on the desired characteristics of parts. Notification: The table is rather wide, please use the slider at the bottom of the table to move the table right and left.

АМ process
Materials group
Common materials
Dimensional accuracy
Supports required
Strengths(+) and -Weaknesses(-)
Common applications

Termoplastic filament

(lower limit ±0.5 mm)

Yes, dissolvable available

+Low cost
+Functional parts (non commercial)
-Limited dimenzional accuracy parts
-Visible print layers
·  Electrical housings
·  Form & fit testing
·  Jigs and fixtures
·  Investment casting patterns

Photopolymer resin

· Standard
· Castable
· Transparent
· High temperature
(lower limit ±0.15 mm)


+Smooth surface finish
+Fine feature details
-Brittle, not suitable for mechanical parts
·   Injection mold-like prototypes
·   Jewelry (investment casting)
·   Dental application
·   Hearing aids

Photopolymer resin

· Standard
· Castable
· Transparent
· High temperature
±0.1 mm

Yes, dissolvable available

+Best surface quality
+Full color and multi-material available
- Brittle, not suitable for mechanical parts
-Higher cost than SLA/DLP for visual purposes
·   Full color pototypes
·   Injection mold-like prototypes
·   Low run injection molds
·   Medical models

Sand or metal powder

· Stainless/Bronze
· Full color sand
· Silica (sand casting)
±0.2 mm (metal)
±0.3 mm (sand)


+Low cost
+Large build volumes
+Functional metal parts
-Mechanical properties are not as good as DMLS/SLM
·  Functional metal parts
·  Full color models
·  Sand casting
PBF-polymer (SLS, MJF)

Termo-plastics powder

· Polyamide (Nylon) PA-11
· Polyamide (Nylon) PA-12
·  PA-12 glass bead or aluminium filled
· Thermo-plastic elastomer
· Polyetherketone
· Carbon fiber reinforced polymers
(lower limit ±0.3 mm)


+Functional parts with good mechanical properties
+Complex geometries
-Longer lead times

·  Functional polymer parts
·  Complex ducting (hollow design)
·  Low run part production


Metal powder

· Steels
· Nickel alloys
· Aluminum
· Titanium
· Cobalt chrome
· Copper
±0.1 mm


+Strongest functional parts
+Complex geometries
-Small build sizes
-Highest price point of all technologies

·  Functional metal parts (Aerospace and automotive)
·  Injection molding tools with conformal cooling
·  Medical
·  Dental

2.dr/2.3.0.process_dfam.txt · Last modified: 2022/01/09 20:09 by soskicz

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