///Comparison of SLA and CNC Machining Processes for 3D Printers

Comparison of SLA and CNC Machining Processes for 3D Printers

3D printer SLA and CNC machining process are as follows:

SLA process features

1.The process has high flexibility and can complete the production of parts with very complex structures at one time, and its production cost and production speed are basically irrelevant to the complexity of the parts.

2.The production speed is quick. In the processing specification range of the equipment, parallel processing of several parts can be made at the same time. It takes only a few hours to a dozen hours to complete the completion of the digital model to the part.

3.Seamless CAD/CAM connection, CAD data can be directly machined, no need for data programming and part split.

4.It is not necessary to consider the design and use of the fixture during the processing of the part.

5.The mechanical properties of the resin materials used are somewhat poor, and they can reach ABS and PP grades, but they cannot fully comply with the real materials.

SLA cost structure

SLA equipment can basically achieve “unattended”, a person can operate and control 3-5 SLA equipment at the same time, the labor cost is low, but the material of SLA is a specific photosensitive resin, and the purchase cost is high. Therefore, the production cost of SLA is basically irrelevant to the complexity of the parts, but mainly depends on the weight of the machined parts and the depreciation of the equipment itself.

CNC process features

1.It needs to be programmed according to the part data. For the parts with complex structure, the parts must be split and processed, and then bonding and assembly should be performed after the processing is completed;

2.The fixture needs to be designed and used during processing. For large-size, complex-structured split parts, in order to ensure the splicing accuracy, design-specific inspection tools must also be considered;

3.The materials use real materials, and can be directly processed by various materials such as ABS, acrylic, PP and even metals. The comprehensive mechanical properties of the materials are higher than those of the SLA process.

CNC cost structure

CNC machining consumables directly use real materials such as ABS and PP. The cost of materials is relatively low. However, CNC processes need to be programmed and split. Usually, one CNC machine needs to be equipped with 3-4 personnel, and labor costs are relatively large. Therefore, the cost of the CNC mainly depends on the complexity of the parts and the material consumption. The more complex the parts, the more work is required to split and program, the more complex the post-processing splicing process, the more manual labor hours are required, and the higher the cost is.

Summary The SLA process is mainly applied to various complex structures, or parts that require a high time period. The CNC is more suitable for producing various solid parts with simpler structures and thicker ones. In terms of cost, since the SLA process cost is mainly related to the part weight, the SLA cost is superior to the CNC for components such as high-definition, thin-walled or hollow structures, and the cost of the CNC is dominant for heavy-duty components with relatively simple structures.