Types of 3D printers. FDM, DLP- For Hobbyist

The Types of 3D printers hobbyist, and artist could use are plentiful. In this article I want to discuss some of the different types of 3D printers out there. Some printers use a plastic filament that gets melted and formed into the print while others use UV sensitive resin. There are also differences in these resin printers as I will be discussing later on in the article.

Trying to find the best 3D printer for you can seem like a daunting task, but hopefully I will be able to give you a general overview and understanding of some of the different types of 3D printers out there.


The FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printer uses plastic filament in the shape of a long thin wire or tube of plastic. This plastic is the heated up and melted onto the bed where the print will be formed.These printers move back and forth forming a row of a layer before moving to the next. Once a layer has been fully printed it moves the nozel up to start on the next layer.

These printers tend to be the cheapest family of 3D printers. They typically print in an ABS or polystyrene plastic which makes it very easy to work with after the print. Touch ups with sand paper are easy and without the concerns that resin powder debris has for breathing. Plastic cement can also be used with the prints from an FDM.

The quality of the prints won’t be as high as what a DLP or SLA printer can provide but the low cost and the fact the prints are ready to use right after they’ve cooled down from the printi9ng process.

The Resin used in DLP and SLA printers need further curing after they have been printed to fully solidify the resin.


The DLP (Digital Light Processing) printer is a 3D printer that utilizes a pool of UV sensitive resin that gets printed with a UV light projection that forms each layer. The process repeats till the model in the pool has been fully drawn. The print from these printer are of much higher quality than the Plastic FLM printer. Resin printers tend to be much more expensive than plastic filament printer, but the DLP can usually found for a relatively affordable price if you get a compact one like the PhotonCubic Creative 3D pro as I discussed in Top 3 Best Budget 3D Printers for Hobbyist.

I do think these printer are a lot of fun to use. The level of quality in the prints is amazing. There are also some compact mini models that can be found for under 500 dollars.


The SLA (Stereolithography Apparatus) printer has a top bed table from where the model is printed. This 3D printer also uses.a pool of UV sensitive resin like the DLP printer however It administers the Ultraviolet light in a more concentrated laser that targets individual points vs shining a UV projection over the whole layer being worked on. This does make the printing a bit slower but at a higher quality print. The SLA also removes and dips the model into the resin pool. The bed does this so the now gel like layer of the resin model can be exposed to oxygen solidify the resin.


Yes there is also a liquid crystal display type resin 3D printer. This one also uses UV light however there is an LCD screen the mask certain parts of the UV light be projected while allowing the are that’s being printed to be exposed to the projectors UV light all at once.

These printers also offer very high quality prints with a UV sensitive resin that will need to be fur5ther cured with a UV lamp for the print to fully solidify. These type of printers can be expensive with some models costing well over 2 thousand dollars.


There are plenty of different types of 3D printers out there. The different mechanics that go into resin printers alone could be a topic. They all use the UV light yes but have different ways of applying it whether it’s as a concentrated laser or a UV light projection.

I hope this Article helped clarify some of the main differences between all the different type of 3D printers out there.


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