How many microns are there in 3D printing? With so many 3D printers in the market, getting the right layering can be challenging.
3D printers are not conventional printers. They allow us to print actual renders from molten plastic threading. These devices are great for printing functional tool parts and creative and fun projects.
No matter the use case, it is always important to know the desired microns. Not all 3D printers offer the same printing experience.
Microns determine the overall resolution and affect the visual quality. Before we go further, let us find out:
How Many Microns Are There in 3D Printing?
Good 3D printers have 100 microns. These printers make high-resolution prints that capture details, especially along ridges and curves. Some printers have 200 microns, which is not as good or detailed as 100-micron printers.
These microns are measurements of the height of each layer. A high micron count translates to a lower print resolution. Some printers have as low as 50 microns on the layering height.
Fused Diffusion Modeling Printing
Fused Diffusion Modeling printing is one of the two main 3D printing technologies available today. The operating principle is fairly easy.
Fused Diffusion Model printers are special printers that rely on extruders. These extruders channel the print material through. The material melts it into a thin tubular strand before it gets to the bed.
The material needs to be compatible with plastic filaments. The print material would otherwise stick to the inside of the extruder.
Thermoplastic material gets channeled out of the spool into the machine. It cools and settles into a predetermined shape. The layer heights vary depending on the machine and the set resolution.
A high-resolution printer could have as low as 25 microns on the material diameter.
Fused Diffusion Model printers are popular because they are cheap. They go for as low as $5000 for the base models.
The printing technology relies on thermally-sensitive plastic. It is one of the less hazardous printers.
A disadvantage of the Fused Diffusion Modeling Print technology is that some prints fail to settle correctly.
It results in runny prints or low-quality curves. There are many guides on how to avoid runny 3D prints. Click here for more information.
Stereolithography (SLA) 3D Printing
It is one of the older technologies used for making 3D prints. Technology has been around since the ’80s. It has seen some iterations and continues to evolve.
Fused Diffusion Modeling printing uses a heat-sensitive plastic material to form the final molds. Stereolithography is different as the primary material is sensitive to light.
The materials experience a change in state under a light at a certain wavelength. Different photosensitive materials experience these changes at different heat levels.
While Fused Diffusion Modeling relies on extrusion, Stereolithography uses a special type of laser. The laser strikes and cures liquid resin before it settles into the desired mold.
During the curing process, the mold undergoes photopolymerization. The light draws the shape or print onto the resin until the final shape appears.
Stereolithography prints are dense and waterproof. The technology has other advantages over Fused Diffusion Modeling. The final models are of a better resolution. You can add many details with high accuracy.
The biggest disadvantage of Stereolithography is that you don’t often get strong prints. Some materials are flaky and often don’t last long. The printers are generally more expensive, even for the base models.
How Do You Select The Right 3D Printer?
Before you buy a 3D printer, there are many considerations you need to make. These machines are not cheap to run or maintain.
It is, therefore, necessary that you select the machine that suits your requirements. But what criteria should you use?
One of the most important checks for quality is layer bridging. What is layer bridging? It is a printer’s ability to layer material without stringing or forming outcroppings.
Stringing affects the final print quality. It makes the molds look unprofessional. Some of the bridging errors occur due to the print material choice. In most cases, these errors get caused by bad printer accuracy.
Select a machine that prints accurately with various materials to have professional prints. You can avoid stringing and outcroppings by choosing a machine with a low micron count.
Some 3D printers are faster than others. With these machines, you need to be patient to get the right print quality.
A high-resolution printer takes more time to complete a job. It is because the 3D printer has to carefully layer each strand, and these strands need to settle. It takes longer for a project that has many complex details or curves.
The results are always worth the wait. If you don’t care for details or want to make simple prints, pick a 3D printer with a high micron count. They take less time to print since the details aren’t a huge concern.
Materials and their availability
3D printing materials differ. Some materials are great for certain projects and not for others. Some materials are also available in some markets and rare in others. Here is where you need to do some research.
Note that some materials work well with specific 3D printer models while others don’t. Before you settle on a model, run through the list of compatible materials.
The best 3D printers allow you to have some flexibility. They give you greater options for materials and settings.
Research the type of project you wish to do and whether the machine allows you to use the materials.
Strength is important when printing 3D objects. The structural strength determines how long the prints last. Some of the durability issues are tied to the material.
Fused diffusion modeling printers give you solid and durable prints. The prints generally last longer, especially when you make them using a good wall thickness.
Strong materials matter. If the machine doesn’t accept the thermally sensitive material that gives you the best structure, you should avoid it.
Porosity is important. You get dense and impermeable prints with stereolithography prints. These materials last long in wet conditions. Layer density helps with 3D printing strength.
Machine workload and build volumes
Every 3D printer comes with a recommended runtime and duty cycle. The duty cycle is the maximum number of prints you can run monthly.
Industrial machines have very high duty cycles. These machines run for hours non-stop. Other consumer machines need to cool down after a certain operating time.
Exceeding the recommended duty cycle causes wear and tear on the machine’s moving parts. It reduces the overall lifespan.
Machines that print large objects have a larger duty cycle. They require more maintenance to keep them running optimally. It is important to select a 3D printer based on how often you print and the intensity of your projects.
Print resolution (Microns)
Like paper printers, 3D printers have different resolutions. These printers are ideal for different jobs.
You should select a printer with the lowest micron count. A low micron count means that the printer can capture details better. Low micron 3D printers are great for aesthetic prints and detailed jobs.
Note that detailed prints take longer to make. A printer with a high micron count is ideal if you aren’t too keen on details.
The jobs don’t take as much time to complete, though the result is not always great. A high resolution does not necessarily equate to a good print job.
Industrial Applications Of 3D Printing
There are several applications for 3D printing in many industries. Some of them are:
Nearly all industries use 3D printing to make prototypes and test models. It is cheaper than creating entire custom templates from scratch. It allows designers to perfect the final product before they go into production.
Cloud manufacturing happens in industries where production is decentralized. Design teams work at different locations from the production line.
It happens when a manufacturer allows its clients to add custom designs to the final product. The customer uses software to render their desired design and sends it to the manufacturer.
Food manufacturers use different designs to model cakes, chocolates, candy, etc.
How many microns are there in 3D printing? The number of microns varied widely depending on the make and model of your 3D printer.
There are different types of printers, and they print at different resolutions. Premium build printers layer at 50 microns, while budget 3D printers layer at 200 microns.
A low micron count indicates a high 3D print resolution. It is because low-layer heights give vivid details and make the prints better.
The standard resolution and overall quality dictate the final result’s aesthetically pleasing. You should invest in a 50-to-100-micron printer for the best results.