Resin or Filament? Dive into 3D Printing’s Top Material Duel!

3D printing leverages a spectrum of materials among which liquid resins and thermoplastic filaments emerge as some of the top picks. Filaments find their match with the Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) technique in 3D printing. Meanwhile, resins align with Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA) technology. Both these printing mediums bring to the table distinct attributes, advantages, and of course, certain limitations.


This piece aims to offer a rich comparison between the two, assisting you in making an informed choice tailored to your needs. Quality – Can Resin Printing Outperform Filament Printing in Detail? Price – Does Resin Burn a Bigger Hole in Your Pocket Compared to Filament? User-Friendliness – Is Handling Filament Simpler Than Resin? Durability – How Do Resin 3D Prints Stack Up Against Filament in Strength? Speed – Who Takes The Crown – Resin or Filament Printing? Safety First – Does Resin Pose Greater Risks Than Filament? Resin Vs Filament for Tiny Models – What’s The Verdict?

Diving right into quality, resin printing undeniably offers superior detail compared to filament printing. Yet, this isn’t to say that FDM 3D printers fall short. Astonishingly, filaments can often yield exquisite print results, though they might lag a tad behind when set against resins. Achieving this precision with filaments, however, demands more time.

SLA printing, with its powerful laser, boasts exceptional dimensional precision and can achieve tiny shifts in the XY plane, resulting in remarkably high-resolution prints compared to FDM. When it comes to granularity, SLA 3D printers often showcase stellar resolutions, some boasting up to 10-micron precision, quite a leap from the standard 50-100 microns seen in FDM printing.

Further, models in filament printing undergo a lot of stress, which might explain why their surface finishes don’t always match up to the silky smoothness of resin prints. The elevated temperatures in filament printing sometimes give birth to minor flaws, necessitating post-production tweaks. A common hiccup in filament printing is the appearance of tiny imperfections on your print. If you’re keen on understanding the root causes and solutions, my guide on Addressing and Rectifying 3D Print Imperfections might be your best buddy.

Discussing FDM printing, print quality depends heavily on nozzle dimensions and the precision of extrusion. A plethora of nozzle dimensions are available, each with its set of merits and demerits. Most FDM 3D printers today come equipped with a 0.4 mm nozzle, which offers a harmonious blend of speed, finesse, and precision. You have the liberty to swap out nozzle sizes as per your needs. Larger than 0.4 mm nozzles are renowned for their swift printing capabilities and fewer nozzle-induced issues, whereas those smaller than 0.4 mm promise unparalleled precision, especially for delicate overhangs, but at the expense of speed. If you’re curious, a 0.1mm diameter nozzle takes four times as long when compared to a 0.4mm counterpart.

When pitted against each other, SLA 3D printers, especially those employing a photopolymer resin, unfailingly deliver intricately detailed prints. The layer height and resolution play a pivotal role here. SLA 3D printers boast a minuscule minimum layer height, which directly translates to unparalleled accuracy and richness in resin prints.

However, don’t count out 3D printing filaments like PLA, PETG, and Nylon just yet! These can render remarkable quality. But like all technologies, both 3D printing techniques come with their fair share of pitfalls that can potentially affect the final output quality.

Briefly touching on print flaws for filament printing: Stringing, Overhangs, Blobs & Zits, Weak Layer Bonding, Lines on Side of Models, Over & Under-Extrusion, and Gaps in 3D Prints.

And for resin printing, here are some glitches you might encounter: Models Unsticking from Build Plate, Over-Curing, Resin Shifts, and Layer Delamination.

Harnessing the prowess of an SLA 3D printer, resin layers fuse swiftly and exhibit remarkable detailing, culminating in unmatched print quality. While filament prints can also impress, they pale when placed next to the magic resin achieves. Thus, in the quality arena, resin emerges victorious.

In terms of cost, both resins and filaments can stretch your budget depending on the manufacturer and volume, but pocket-friendly options are also up for grabs. Generally, resin tends to be pricier than filament. There’s a diverse price spectrum when it comes to different filament types, some being more affordable than others and often cheaper than resins. To give you a glimpse into cost-effectiveness, let’s delve into some budget-friendly picks.

When you scout Amazon for affordable 3D printer resin, Elegoo Rapid UV Curing Resin might catch your eye. Priced modestly, this low-odor photopolymer doesn’t dent your savings. A 1Kg bottle can be yours for just under $30, positioning it among the more affordable resins available. On the filament side, the budget-friendly contender is often PLA. One of the cost-effective yet quality-rich filaments I stumbled upon on Amazon was Tecbears PLA 1Kg Filament, retailing around $20. The rave reviews on this product, numbering in thousands, sing praises of its packaging, ease of use for newbies, and overall print quality.

Let’s momentarily shift our focus to more advanced 3D printing materials, commencing with resin. Siraya Tech has cemented its place as a credible brand in the 3D printer resin sphere, with offerings like their Tenacious, Flexible & Impact-Resistant 1Kg Resin, available on Amazon for a middle-of-the-road price (~$65). As you infuse specific characteristics into the resin, the price point ascends. This resin variant from Siraya Tech can fortify other resins, thanks to its additive properties.

For a more premium filament experience, consider PRILINE’s Carbon Fiber Polycarbonate Filament. A 1Kg reel of this filament fetches around $50, justifying its price tag with superior attributes.

However, if you’re on the hunt for the crème de la crème in resin, Formlabs beckons. Their Formlabs Permanent Crown Resin, carrying a whopping $1,000 price tag for a 1KG bottle, is in a league of its own.

On the filament side, if you’re targeting materials extensively employed in oil/gas, automotive, aerospace, and industrial sectors, PEEK filament should be on your radar. CarbonX’s Carbon Fiber PEEK Filament from Amazon might raise eyebrows with its $600 price tag for 1Kg, but its attributes justify the cost.

This analysis underscores that while there’s a price gap between resins and filaments, both have affordable and premium offerings.

Ease of handling is another crucial parameter. Resin, with its messiness and extensive post-processing, might seem daunting. In contrast, filaments are relatively straightforward, especially for 3D printing novices. When you venture into resin printing, be prepared for a substantial