Definition of accuracy in 3D printing
In 3D printing, the terms tolerance, accuracy, precision, and resolution are used as follows:
Accuracy: detail of a CAD file
Accuracy is about whether the 3D printed part exactly matches the dimensions in your CAD file, i.e., how big the deviations are.
Precision: reliability of the additive manufacturing process
Precision refers to the repeatability when components are printed several times. Example: How many of the 3D printed parts exactly match the required values when the same part is printed in a series of 1000 parts.
Tolerance: scope for deviation
How much is the margin for deviations? In which cases does the 3D printed component still perfectly fulfil the functionality with deviations? An example: A mechanical assembly that will be constantly moving must be produced more precisely than an additively manufactured case made of plastic.
Resolution = how thin the individual layers may be
The height of the individual layers a 3D printer produces components with. FDM printers can print layer heights of 0.1 mm without any problems. SLA printers produce with a layer height of ~ 25 µm.
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