3D/4D Printing of Polymers: Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), and Stereolithography (SLA)

Polymers (Basel). 2021 Sep 15;13(18):3101. doi: 10.3390/polym13183101.


Additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing is a digital manufacturing process and offers virtually limitless opportunities to develop structures/objects by tailoring material composition, processing conditions, and geometry technically at every point in an object. In this review, we present three different early adopted, however, widely used, polymer-based 3D printing processes; fused deposition modelling (FDM), selective laser sintering (SLS), and stereolithography (SLA) to create polymeric parts. The main aim of this review is to offer a comparative overview by correlating polymer material-process-properties for three different 3D printing techniques. Moreover, the advanced material-process requirements towards 4D printing via these print methods taking an example of magneto-active polymers is covered. Overall, this review highlights different aspects of these printing methods and serves as a guide to select a suitable print material and 3D print technique for the targeted polymeric material-based applications and also discusses the implementation practices towards 4D printing of polymer-based systems with a current state-of-the-art approach.

Keywords: 3D printing; 4D printing; fused deposition modelling; polymers; selective laser sintering; stereolithography.

Publication types

  • Review