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MJF parts are high-strength and have better surface quality when compared to FDM parts. MJF can also print significantly faster. FDM printers are cheaper with a wider range of available materials. 

FDM vs. MJF: Technology Comparison

FDM and MJF technologies are very different. The first FDM machine was developed in the 1980s and the fundamental technology has not changed. MJF printers were developed in 2016 and have employed some advanced techniques. FDM printers simply extrude a melted thermoplastic onto the build plate. Whereas MJF makes use of a multi-step process that starts by laying down a thin layer of plastic powder. Then a detailing and fusing agent is applied. Finally, a heat source fuses the material together. 

FDM vs. MJF: Material Comparison

FDM printers can make use of a wide range of rigid and flexible, multi-color thermoplastics. An MJF printer, on the other hand, can only make use of a handful of materials such as nylon, polypropylene, and TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane). It must be noted that MJF can produce stronger parts than FDM printers.  

FDM vs. MJF: Product Applications Comparison

FDM printed parts can be successfully used for a wide range of applications. Examples include: functional and visual prototypes, as well as, limited production runs on mechanical components. MJF parts are stronger and tougher than FDM equivalents. These items can be used for low-volume functional parts as an alternative to injection molding, which is often too expensive to justify low production volumes. 

FDM vs. MJF: Print Volume Comparison

FDM printers can have much larger build volumes than MJF printers. However, it must be noted that MJF printers make more efficient use of the available print volume. This can be done by efficiently stacking parts within the entire volume. 

FDM vs. MJF: Surface Finish Comparison

FDM parts have a poor surface finish and require post-processing to improve this. MJF parts have a slightly rough matte surface finish that has the appearance of a sand-cast part. MJF parts can be dyed with a black dye to give a uniform finish, as the parts come out of the printer with an uneven gray color. 

FDM vs. MJF: Cost Comparison

MJF printers are an industrial manufacturing solution and as such are orders of magnitude more expensive than even the most capable FDM printer. A top-range FDM printer can cost approximately $6,950 whereas MJF printers start at $270,000.

FDM vs. MJF: Differences and Comparison