When choosing a 3D printing technology, it is sometimes difficult to understand the differences and advantages of each technology you are considering. It might be the case with Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printing technologies.
Indeed, MJF and SLS are quite similar; they are both part of the bed powder technologies. But there are some differences regarding the printing process, materials available, surface finish options, and mechanical properties. Let’s dive into this technology comparison! MJF vs. SLS: Which one of these 3D printing technologies will be the most suitable for your project?
The main difference between these two technologies is their heat source. SLS uses a laser to scan and sinter across each cross-section. MJF, on the other hand, dispenses an ink (fusing agent) on the powder to absorb infrared light. Let’s get a bit more into details.
Multi Jet Fusion is an additive manufacturing technique developed by the company HP. It creates parts additively thanks to a multi-agent printing process. During this process, a fusing agent is applied to a material layer, fusing the particles where they need to. Then a detailing agent is used to modify fusing and create fine details and smooth surfaces. The area exposed to the energy leads to reactions between the agents and the material to make the part.
The build box is removed from the printer when the printing process is complete. Like any powder-bed technology, n operator carefully extracts the parts from the build box and removes the remaining powder thanks to brushes and air blowers.
SLS is an additive manufacturing method creating parts additively by sintering fine polymer powder particles to fuse them locally.
During the 3D printing process, the SLS machine preheats the bulk powder material in the powder bed somewhat below its melting point. Then, a roller will apply a layer of polymer powder, the laser will sinter the powder according to the 3D file, and the build platform will lower before applying a new layer of powder. The process will then be repeated until the desired part is created.
Here are the similarities between these two additive manufacturing processes:
SLS and MJF are both industrial technologies that offer high dimensional accuracy for your 3D printed parts.
Standard layer thickness: 100 – 120µm
Accuracy: ± 0.3% (minimum of ± 0.3 mm)
Standard layer thickness: 80µm
Accuracy X/Y : ± 0.3% (minimum of ± 0.3 mm)
Accuracy Z : ± 0.5% (minimum of ± 0.5 mm)
SLS and MJF are comparable in the strength of the part. However, MJF emerges slightly ahead because it is more isotropic. The mechanical properties and performances of the technology also depend on the material you choose. But let’s stick with comparing the PA 12 available with these two technologies to understand the different properties they might offer!
Elongation at break: 20%
Tensile strength: 48 MPa
Tensile Modulus: 1700 MPa
Elongation at break: 20 ± 5%
Tensile Strength: 45 ± 3 MPa
Tensile Modulus: 1700 ± 150 MPa
SLS technology is used to offer more materials and finishing options, as Multi Jet Fusion initially only offered Nylon PA12. But HP evolved quite quickly and had to adapt to the needs of 3D printing users.
Selective Laser Sintering options available with Sculpteo:
HP Multi Jet Fusion options available with Sculpteo:
3D printing parts with either SLS or MJF technology leads to grainy surface finishes that can be post-processed to a high standard. The fusing agent used during the HP Jet Fusion printing process is black, enhancing infrared rays’ absorption. Because of this, parts printed with MJF usually have a grey appearance, making it easier to dye them black.
Finishing options will depend on the material you choose for your project.
PA12 MJF:free guide about the surface finish! Manufacturing quality parts using 3D printing is now easily accessible by applying design best practices and making intelligent post-processing choices according to your applications. You will find some examples and accurate mechanical tests and understand additive manufacturing surface quality perfectly.
SLS and MJF are two versatile technologies, mainly thanks to their wide range of materials.
When 3D printing with the Selective Laser Sintering or Multi Jet Fusion process, you must choose the material properties that will fit your project. These 3D printing processes are consumer products, architectural models, drones, robotics, luxury, automotive, medical, ioT devices, sports equipments, footwear, orthopedic technology, education, sculptures, jigs and fixtures, promotional items, and more. All parts you need, from functional prototyping to production, can be manufactured using this additive manufacturing technology.
This additive manufacturing technique allows you to create concept models and parts for functional tests. You can even add surface finishes on your parts to get great final products. It is possible to prototype complex designs with this additive manufacturing technology. You can do as many iterations as you want to improve your product design; you must modify your 3D file.
These two aspects depend on many different factors; that is why we encourage you to make the test using our online 3D printing platform. You can upload a 3D file of your choice and compare these two technologies’ costs and lead times. A quote will be generated automatically, as well as the lead times, depending on the production mode you are willing to choose.
We offer three production modes: Economy(+/- 15 days), Standard (2 to 15 days), and Express (2 days)! These production modes are all available with Selective Laser Sintering and HP Multi Jet Fusion.
The price of your order is calculated thanks to four factors, the dimensions, the volume, the number of parts, and the production mode selected.
Using an online service bureau such as Sculpteo, there is no minimum order quantity, from a single object to 10 000+ parts, you can 3D print the exact amount of parts you need. With 10+ years of expertise in additive manufacturing for production and prototyping, Sculpteo is also offering rigorous quality control.
Sculpteo offers a wide selection of high-performance materials developed by BASF and dedicated to demanding applications. From automotive to consumer goods, including robotics or medical. Sculpteo provides adapted manufacturing tools and support to all businesses, helping them to reach the next level. We’ll take care of your orders in our industrial ISO 9001 factory!