Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) are among the most popular additive manufacturing technologies. These methods are ideal for high-quality printing objects using elastomers and polymers. Both 3D printing technologies share several similarities and differences; thus, you can easily pick the right one per your manufacturing requirements.
SLS vs MJF: Overview of Both Technologies
Before diving into both 3d printing methods, let’s understand what these processes are and how they work.
In SLS technology, the 3d printers deposit a layer of material powder on the printing platform using cross-sections of a 3D CAD model. Then, the printer uses an intense CO2 laser to sinter the material layers as per the required shape and geometry. Once the first layer is completed, the machine deposits another layer, and the sintering process repeats until the component is created. It’s a robust industrial 3d printing method ideal for prototyping, functional testing, and small-scale production.
Multi jet fusion 3d printing or HP MJF method works the same way as SLS, but it also involves utilizing liquid fusing agents and detailing agents. After every layer is deposited and heated near the sintering temperature, the 3d printer jets a liquid fusing agent on the layers. The agent helps in the faster absorption of infrared rays. In addition to this, the printer also deposits a detailing agent over the exterior edges of the component.
After this, an infrared source sinters everything before another layer of material is deposited over the previous one. This 3d printing method is ideal for high-speed production and is used to create parts with superior accuracy and repeatability.
Similarities Between SLS and MJF
Both 3d printing solutions share various similarities that make it easier for you to pick the right technology for manufacturing. Some of the similarities are:
Both Use Powdered Materials:
Both are powder fusion technologies and use powdered materials to build objects. In SLS, the common materials used include PA 11, PA 12, and PA 12 Glass-filled. MJF uses materials like TPU, PA 12, and PA 11.
Use Of Heat Source for Sintering:
SLS and MJF use high-energy sources like lasers to sinter the deposited materials. In SLS, a CO2 laser is used, whereas MJF uses an infrared source.
No Need for Support Structures:
Both methods can create 3D printed parts without support structures. However, warping can be an issue in both processes, and thus, manufacturers should avoid printing with a large surface area.
Multi Jet Fusion vs SLS: Key Differences
MJF and SLS might look similar in terms of working or material support but have some differences, including:
SLS technology supports various materials, including PEBA 2301 3D, Alumide, TPU, PA 11, and PA 12. On the other hand, MJF printing is limited to specific materials, including PA 12, PA 11, and TPU.
Both technologies’ dimensional accuracy is nearly similar, but SLS offers more refined details. Thus, the geometrical resolution is higher in SLS.
If you need parts with a smoother finish, then MJF is the right technology. On the other hand, you can opt for SLS technology for grainy textured components.
How To Pick the Right Technology?
Below is a quick comparison between SLS and MJF that will help you pick the correct method and scale your manufacturing with ease.
|Materials||MJF supports PA 11, PA 12, PA 12 Glass-filled and TPU||SLS supports more number of materials compared to MJF including Alumide, PEBA 2301 3D, PA 12 Glass-filled, PA 12, and PA 11|
|Accuracy||End products are of higher accuracy||SLS offers slightly higher dimensional accuracy than MJF|
|Processing time||It’s faster than SLS||For larger quantities, it takes more time|
|Surface finishing||MJF delivers a smoother surface finish||Parts have a grainy finish|
|Printing dimensions||Maximum up to 380 x 284 x 380 mm||Maximum up to 600 x 350 x 560|
Both technologies offer excellent results, and you can pick the right one based on your product requirements. If you need help getting started with MJF or SLS, Zeal 3D is here to help. Contact us and get started with on-demand 3d printing.