For those of you that have BOTH an FDM printer and SLA printer, I have questions

JonW

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Feb 20, 2021
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I have an FDM 3D printer and am fairly proficient with it. Lately I've been making smaller parts, such as spot lights and light bars for 1:18 scale diecasts. I'm considering getting an SLA (resin) printer to do those parts with. If you have both kinds of printers, which one do you use the most for modelling? Is the SLA printer that much better for smaller parts?
 

Hagoth

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Mar 11, 2015
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At the moment I use my FDM printers for everything. FDM works great for nice sturdy parts to build up on. With a 0.2mm nozzle and using 0.05 layer thickness I can get very nice detail. SLA is really good for details and does a much better job on surface quality for smoothness but is not structurally as strong in my experience.

As for mixing the two I would use the FDM for the basic structure, working parts and major details and the SLA for fine surface parts and intricate details. I am considering doing some "photo etch" like details with my FDM printers to see if the technique works.

For what you are doing I think you will be very pleased with SLA.
 

JonW

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Feb 20, 2021
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I was watching some You Tube videos on SLA, and one of them mentioned how bad the fumes were, and that a respirator should be worn. And how the fluids used for cleaning are considered toxic waste. That seemed extreme to me. What is your experience in those areas?
 

Hagoth

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Mar 11, 2015
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492
Yes, the resins do have a smell and you want to use the machine in a ventilated area. They require a two step curing process. Also wear gloves while handling until they are fully cured. You can get resins that wash off in water and those are not as bad but they still need a second stage UV light cure. The other issue is that they will keep curing when exposed to UV light and can get very brittle.

FDM can be the same way in that ABS and nylon types can put out fumes. That is why I prefer PLA. Some sites will warn you about air born particles from printing but I've never had any issues.
 

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