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  1. #1

    Are SLA and PLA files the same?

    I haven't pulled the trigger on my first 3D printer yet as I'm torn between filament and resin. But are resin and filament files...or blueprints the same thing? Thank you for any help.

  2. #2
    Staff Engineer Roberts_Clif's Avatar
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    Jun 2017
    Washington State, USA
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    SLA uses a liquid resin material to Print models.
    PLA is Polylactic Acid a Plastic 1.75mm - 3mm filament

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Monterey Bay, California
    Add jamcultur on Thingiverse
    You can print the same designs with both types of printer. You start by creating or downloading a 3D model, usually in the format of an STL file. Then you open the STL file in a slicer program and convert it to gcode (commands that the particular printer understands), and load the gcode file into the printer.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    The main difference is in
    1) the post processing. resin is messy and requires washing in isopropyl alcohol followed by exposure to an ultraviolet illuminator - the resin is also quite toxic and gloves should be worn at all times wheile dealing with uncured resin.
    FDM filament occasionally needs a little sanding :-)

    2) the way the files are sliced. resin files are converted in to stacks of flat 2d black and white images (NOT gcode) - 1 image for each layer.
    For fdm the models are converted into a series of instructions called g-code, that tell the printer how and when to move the print head and/or print bed and extrude filament.

    Fdm is the easier and cleaner and safer method.
    While resin is the one with more solid results and much higher resolution prints.

    Both can produce prints in many colours and material types.

    Resin - while prices have been dropping - is still at least 2x the cost for materials

    It is very much: get the right tool for the intended job.

  5. #5
    I have both,Resin I would consider a bit more advanced, or at least a steeper learning curve, they have different tolerances and strengths in terms of wall thickness, details, etc. If you need high quality prints, resin is good.If you need rapid prototyping, FDM is good.PLA is a material used in FDM, SLA is a style of resin printing.

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