FDM or PolyJet: Which One Is Better For Consumer Goods

By Josh Matte on

In most cases, when working with prototypes for consumer goods, product development engineers want a print that will most closely represent the final production part. The ability to print new iterations on the fly, as multiple changes typically take place, is crucial. This is where 3D printing comes in handy. Keep reading to learn the advantages of both PolyJet and FDM technologies when it comes to consumer goods.

Who Is the Main User?

Consumer goods cover a wide variety of different user bases and take advantage of 3D printing technology. We have seen Stratasys printers used with companies of all shapes and sizes. Some use them for printing multiple prototypes to try to agree on a great product design for a future release. For instance, a bottling company may print a few different designs and bring those to the table to advance production. If changes need to be made to a product, a Stratasys printer will help expedite that need and have a brand new model within hours! This is compared to a couple weeks if it is being outsourced. This ultimately allows for a quicker time to market to beat out the competition. 

Look, Feel and Strength

FDM and PolyJet technologies compliment each other so it’s really a matter of personal preference as far as which technology is right for you! While we are confident that both machines will help your requirements, there is also some pros and cons to the types of technologies that will help match up with your specific needs.

FDM Technology and Consumer GoodsFDM Technology

When printing on an FDM machine you tend to get stronger parts since you are working with thermal plastics. If you plan on testing your parts in a strenuous process, FDM may be the better choice. While PolyJet will do this, you will get more trials out of the FDM parts. The Fortus 380 and 450 machines have a wide variety of different thermoplastics to cover your needs, including Nylon and Ultem material. These materials specialize in high tensile strength and resistance to high temperatures. 

PolyJet Technology and Consumer GoodsPolyJet Technology 

With PolyJet machines, you get are high accuracy, high-resolution parts. This technology will give you a great idea of how the look and feel of an end product will be. The ability to print in multiple materials at once is a huge advantage for a lot of applications. The Connex 3D printer lineup will give you access to multiple shore values with our rubber-like material, which is great for printing grips and seals to get something much closer to your final product. We see this technique used with a lot of consumer goods. The Stratasys J750 printer also allows for a massive range of material colors that you can mix and match on a single part. It is a great machine for getting multiple iterations of parts done quickly. The single-material printers also give you the ability to print in the VeroClear material which is great to emulate parts that may have a “clear” aesthetic to them.

>> Download the High Performance Materials Guide to learn more! 

4Of course, there are multiple materials that you and your team may find to be a benefit to your process. I encourage you to speak with a sales rep at TriMech or check out our website for more information about different build properties of materials. As far as which technology is better for consumer goods, the answer really depends on the type of product being produced. Both FDM and PolyJet have their own unique advantages. 

Want to learn more about which 3D printer would be right for your needs? Download our Entry-Level 3D Printer Buyer’s Guide!