The 3D Printing field has been evolving quite fast lately and there are several great manufacturing technologies that build parts layer-by-layer. However, two technologies are ruling the industry now: Stereolithography (SLA) and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). While both are overall great options, each has its benefits and advantages depending on your needs.
That said, in this article, we’re going to compare Resin vs Filament 3d Printing and especially focus on SLA UV Resin Printers and FDM Printers.
When you’re comparing the two, you can get amazing quality from a filament printer, but you’re going to get better quality with a resin printer. The main reason being is because with a resin printer you can have a smaller layer height, which means you can have more detail on edges and curves.
Indeed, you can actually achieve really good detail with a filament printer and sometimes that’s all people need, but then when you get to resin, the details are so pronounced that you can hardly tell if the product is real or not. For instance, a UV resin printer can even detail a perfect fingerprint.
Overall, for quality, you are going to get more detail with a resin printer.
How hard is it gonna be to start? Although it is different for everybody, overall, UV resin printing is easier to start. The only reason for this is because is with a filament printer you have to level the bed out, you got to figure out the right heat for the nozzle, and if it’s a heated bed, you got to figure out how hot to make that depending on your room temperature that could also change the temperatures. With a 3d resin printer, all you do is level the build plate once, pour in your resin, pop on the lid, and you hit print.
Most people have a lot more success the first time printing with resin than with filament. Generally, you won’t fail with your resin print unless you’re topping up the resin during the print.
However, UV resin printing is very messy and you have to be very organized and clean when you’re printing. Also, unlike filament, if you’re using really cheap UV resin, which most people will be doing because of how expensive it gets over time, it will smell your entire house and the smell will be very hard to get rid of.
Which one is safer? This is hard to compare because they both have their unsafe sides.
A filament printer has a really hot nozzle, so you can burn yourself very easily. Now, granted you’re not gonna really be touching the nozzle, but just for the category of safety, it does get hot enough to burn yourself. Also, you could potentially deal with toxic fumes from the melting plastic, so it’s got to be done in a well-ventilated area.
Now, when we’re talking about UV resin, you’ve got the entire unsafe side of the chemicals that you’re using. From the UV resin to the isopropyl alcohol, it’s just there’s a lot of chemicals that are involved that if you’re not wearing protective equipment, you can really cause damage to your skin.
They’re both dealing with plastics, but on opposite ends. With filament, you’re going from hard plastic to soft, to then hard again. With resin, you’re going from liquid plastic to then cured to hard, so it’s kind of like they’re opposites.
In general, you can get amazing detail with a filament printer but when it comes to doing art and making molds, you want to have the cleanest, flattest lines possible and you’re going to get that with a UV resin printer.
When it comes to speed, there’s no doubt that a UV resin printer is way faster than filament printers. For example, a drip mouth takes around 37 hours to print on a large scale on a UV resin printer. However, a drip mouth the same size on a filament printer takes 10 days to print.
The main reason for this is a filament printer has one nozzle that just goes around, while a UV resin printer does an entire layer in seconds. It flashes the blacklight, cures one layer of solid resin, lifts up, goes back down, flashes the next layer, and repeats, making the process significantly faster.
That’s our takeaway from experiencing both filament and UV resin printing. Depending on what you’re looking for, both of them can meet your needs, and depending on what your budget is, you can get amazing printers in both categories.
When it comes to affordability, there’s a clear winner, filament printers are a lot more affordable. You can get an entry-level resin printer for 250$-300$ and the same goes with filament. However, it’s not the entry-level costs that are gonna be expensive for you, but it’s the ongoing maintenance and materials.
For example, with 30$ dollars you can get an entire spool of filament, even cheaper off of like amazon. For that same price, you can only get one 500 milliliter bottle of UV resin, this being the cheap kind and when we say cheap kind, it’s gonna smell really strong.
When you create something on a filament printer, it’s pretty much done. You can snap it off and maybe you sand it slightly, but you have your piece. With resin, however, you’re only halfway done at that point. You gotta take it off the build plate, remove the supports, you gotta soak it in isopropyl alcohol to get rid of all the extra UV resin, then you gotta cure it under UV lights, then you gotta sand it, etc. Just because of that post-processing costs alone, it almost becomes an entirely different hobby.
With resin printing, you got to continually buy isopropyl alcohol, you have to obviously buy UV resin, which is a lot more expensive, you have to buy the film for your vat, and others. A similar volume product will generally cost you 7 times more with a UV resin printer than the filament printer.
All in all, a filament printer is far more affordable than a UV resin printer.
Resin Cost vs Filament 3D Printing Cost
Make sure to use the information acquired in this article and choose the best printer for your needs and resources. If you have a hard time choosing between the options listed above, be aware that all printers are great nevertheless and everyone will do its job.
All in all, both resin and filament printers will help you make great 3D printing projects.