Does anybody know what the ‘generally accepted’ numbers are on both resolution range and tolerance for FDM, SLA, SLS and Polyjet printing.

I understand that there’s a lot of factors involved with each technology, but I’m looking to get a general order of magnitude comparison for a presentation that is not too far off.




I would suggest checking out the design guides Protolabs, and a couple other prototyping shops, give to customers for these tolerances/resolutions. Just keep in mind that these shops use professionally equipment so their tolerances tend to be tighter than the average consumer machine will be able to produce. There really are not an industry-standard accepted tolerances, but these should give you a good idea of the range.

SLA from Protolabs

SLS from Protolabs

SLA vs. SLS vs. FDM from MIT (see page 4)

SLA vs. SLS. vs. Polyjet from 3D Systems (see chart at bottom)

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In fact, you can use those number who can be right with 85/90 % of 3dhub equipment :


Résolution : from 100 to 300 µm (z)

from 200 to 400 µm (x/y)

Tolerance : +/- 200 µm for 400µm nozzle (depending on nozzle diameter)


Résolution : from 25 µm to 100 µm (z)

from 50 to 180 µm (xy)

tolerance : from 25µm to 100 µm


Résolution : from 60 µm to 150 µm

tolérance : from 50 µm to 150 µm

for big part, you can add 1% tolérance + 150 µm

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For FDM, I would think a reasonable number should be greater than .5mm per side. That is, 1 thread per .4mm nozzle per side, plus a little play.

And that is not very generous, as a number of factors, such as die swell, abs shrinkage, etc., can pull a print beyond that.

Even in Extrusion Molding, tolerances are much greater than that for ABS.

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thx! I guess we should build on that and maybe even make it better :wink:

Thanks again!

Yeah, I like this approach as a rule of thumb. Thanks!

Awesome, thx!

There’s a lot of good resources on this out there, since additive manufacturing had been around for awhile. Just gotta know the right places to look!

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