The Differences in 3D Printing Equipment and Why it Matters

The impact of 3D printing has spanned across industries, promising a future filled with innovative and groundbreaking advancements thanks to the differences in 3D printing equipment and what solutions they offer.

In the medical field, it has revolutionized prosthetics, organ transplants, and drug development, providing personalized medical solutions. For rare and vintage car aficionados, 3D printing streamlines restoration and preserves automotive heritage. Philanthropic organizations like Habitat for Humanity utilize 3D printing technology to create homes swiftly in an effort to solve the housing crisis.

There’s no denying the invaluable benefits 3D printing has brought to the world. With that being said, not all 3D technology is created equal.

Behind the 3D printing curtain lie a variety of distinctions that can greatly impact the quality, efficiency, and versatility of the project. Understanding these nuances is vitally important for both businesses and amateurs alike, as they can, quite literally, make a world of difference when it comes to a project’s success — or demise.

Understanding the Basics

Before diving into these subtleties, let’s first recap the fundamentals of 3D printing technology. Also known as additive manufacturing, the 3D printing process builds objects layer by layer. This process is different from more traditional subtractive manufacturing methods, where material is removed from a solid block to create the desired shape.

At ABCorp 3D, we utilize the latest generation of HP Multi-Jet Fusion and Desktop Metal Binder Jet technology, combined with our wide range of materials from PA12 and PA11 to Polypro and Full-Color PA12 and more, to bring our projects to life.

Multi-Jet Fusion (MJF)

Multi-Jet Fusion, or MJF, is an industrial 3D printing technology that was developed by HP. It provides exceptional precision, speed, and versatility and is great for creating functional parts that are suitable for end-use, like manufacturing. The technology’s high production speed also allows for the printing of multiple parts simultaneously at high speeds, making it an excellent tool for prototyping.

MJF uses a layer of material powder (like, for example, Nylon PA12) as the part’s base. A thin layer of powdered material is laid on the part bed, followed by two agents, one for detailing and one for fusing, that are then melted by infrared light. From there, you have a solid and detailed object!

HP JF5200 3D Printer

Binder Jetting

Binder jetting is another kind of additive manufacturing process where thin layers of a powdered material are carefully and selectively applied to a powder bed. They are then bonded with a single liquid bonding agent. The powder fuses together, solidifying, and is then repeated layer after layer. A benefit to binder jetting is that it is a zero-waste process! Any unused powder can be reused for future builds, making this technology environmentally friendly.

The Importance of Equipment Variation

While both MJF and Binder Jetting are phenomenal additive manufacturing processes, they are not synonymous with one another. They differ in terms of materials, capabilities, and applications, which need to be taken into consideration before starting a project.

Binder Jetting uses a single binding agent, very similar to an adhesive or glue, that is jetted onto the material to consolidate the layers of powder. On the other hand, MJF uses two agents. The first is a fusing agent, which is responsible for setting out where the material will fuse, while the second, a detailing agent, marks the edges of the 3D printed part with laser level precision. Together, they make up the fusing process.

When it comes to print quality, MJF offers a superior surface finish, making it perfect for high-precision applications. Binder Jetting, while capable of producing more detailed parts, may have slightly rougher surface finishes, which can affect the product depending on the desired use or purpose.

For prototyping, MJF is an ideal tool for its high-speed printing and production capabilities, whereas Binder Jetting is a bit slower. However, since Binder Jetting is zero-waste, it’s more cost-effective for large-scale projects.

These are just a few small examples of the importance of selecting the right kind of technology. To learn more about these two processes and others, visit the HP website.

Choosing the Right Equipment

Selecting the right 3D printing equipment for your specific needs requires careful consideration of factors such as budget, desired print quality, material requirements, and production volume.

To make the best-informed decision, there are some things that should be determined first. The first step is clearly defining your project goals, which encompass the level of detail the project should have, the material’s desired properties and capabilities, and the anticipated production volume. Like we’ve shown in the above section, each kind of technology and material comes with its own properties and nuances that can determine the success of a project.

From there, the research can begin. Once the preliminary requirements are decided, your team can begin to compare various 3D printing technologies, equipment, and materials to best bring your vision to life. Next is to consider the long-term costs of the project. It’s smart to factor in not only the initial purchase price but also what the ongoing costs will be for materials, maintenance, and upgrades. Lastly, to really hone in on your best choice, it may be worth your while to consult with industry experts or 3D printing service providers like ABCorp 3D to gain more insight and recommendations based on experience.


The differences in 3D printing equipment and materials can have a significant impact on the outcome of your projects. Whether the priority of the project is print quality, versatility, cost-effectiveness, or production efficiency, choosing the right equipment is crucial for successfully bringing your ideas to life.

By understanding the nuances of MJF and Binder Jetting technology and carefully evaluating your goals and requirements, you can successfully navigate the 3D printing world with confidence and unlock the full potential of additive manufacturing.

Need a consultation on the best process and material for your project? We are just a click away. Contact us and we will be happy to provide any answers you may require.