Filament or Resin in a 3D Printer: which material to choose?

When buying a basic 3D printer, you will have noticed that there is a decision to make from the outset. What is the material to print in 3D? If we speak at a professional or even industrial level, we will see that there are a large number of materials available. However, for the home user we are given two basic options. What is the best option between filament or resin for a basic 3D printer ? That is why we have decided to make this basic article, so that you can see the differences and choose the one that best suits you for your projects.

Filament or Resin in a 3D Printer

3D printing is not something that is new and there are several examples in everyday life. For example, if you have ever had to change a tooth, the replacement is achieved through 3D printing. And at a medical level, not only teeth, but you can also find yourself with prostheses. And outside of health, we cannot forget its use in the world of jewelry. Therefore, at a professional level, its usefulness is more than proven. However, it is at the domestic and small business level where 3D printers have boomed and the first decision to make when purchasing one is the type of 3D printer. That is, choose which filament you use.

Filament versus resin in a 3D printer

In the same way that when choosing a traditional printer we choose the printing system, in a 3D the same thing happens, but in relation to the base material used. Which at the same time makes the operation between these two types of 3D printers different from each other. Therefore, the user’s choice will depend on the nature of the material they have chosen.

In the case of FDM 3D printers, their way of working is to use a plastic filament. Which is melted by a mechanism identical to that of a glue gun and led by a surface on which it cools. The object is built layer by layer that solidifies. The job of the rest of the 3D printer is to direct the gun across the surface in an orderly manner so that the figure comes out as expected.

Filamento Resina Figura Impresora 3D

Instead, SLA 3D printers make use of resins that can come in both powder and liquid form. The way to print is by layers, but to harden and compact the object it is necessary to use an ultraviolet light. This is one of the reasons, along with the harmful gases, why this type of printer is wrong. In order to achieve this light, a type of laser is used. So its operation is different. Here we do not have an object that heats the material, but rather the resin is spread over the surface so that the laser then draws each layer.

The differences between both types of 3D printers are not only limited to the way of printing, but go much further. To finish, we leave you a simple comparison between the two types of printers and their filaments.

Characteristic FDM printers SLA printers
Type of material Filament (PLA, PETG or ABS, Nylon, PVA or TPU) Resins, chemical compositions differentiated by manufacturer.
print speed fast Slow, as there is less space for printing.
Colors Yes, with the ability to combine filaments No, normally the compositions are monochromatic
Level of detail Bass High, thanks to the use of a laser.