3D SLA Resin Printing

Stereolithography (SLA) is an additive manufacturing - commonly referred to as 3D printing - technology that converts liquid materials into solid parts, layer by layer, by selectively curing them using a light source in a process called photopolymerization. SLA is widely used to create models, prototypes, patterns, and production parts for a range of industries from engineering and product design to manufacturing, dentistry, jewellery, model making, and education.

How it works

The UV laser points at two mirror galvanometers, which direct the light to the correct coordinates on a series of mirrors, focusing the light upward through the bottom of the vat and curing a layer of photopolymer resin against the bottom of the tank. A combination of vertical build platform and horizontal tank movement then separates the cured layer from the bottom of the tank, and the build platform moves up to let fresh resin flow beneath. The process repeats until the print is complete. The tank is heated to provide a controlled environment, and a wiper passes across the tank in between layers to circulate resin and remove clusters of semi-cured resin. Our software tool automatically create supports during the preparation of the 3D models, but they can also be adjusted manually. Once the printing process is completed, these supports must be removed from the finished product manually. SLA creates parts with a smooth surface finish directly out the machine. This is ideal for applications that require a flawless finish, and also helps reduce finishing time, since parts can easily be sanded, polished and painted.

Z-axis layer height is commonly used to define the resolution of a 3D printer. This can be adjusted in between 25 and 100 microns on our Form 2, with a trade-off between speed and quality. In comparison, FDM and SLS printers typically print Z-axis layers at 100 to 300 microns. However, a part printed at 100 microns on an FDM or SLS printer looks different from a part printed at 100 microns on an SLA printer. SLA prints have a smoother surface finish right out of the printer, because the outermost perimeter walls are straight, and the newly printed layer interacts with the previous layer, smoothing out the staircase effect. FDM prints tend to have clearly visible layers, whereas SLS has a grainy surface from the sintered powder.

Our SLA printers can create accurate parts with repeatable dimensions. This is essential for functional applications. The combination of the heated resin tank and the closed build environment provides almost identical conditions for each print. Better accuracy is also a function of lower printing temperature compared to thermoplastic-based technologies that melt the raw material. Because SLA uses light instead of heat, the printing process takes place at close to room temperature, and printed parts don't suffer from thermal expansion and contraction.

General accuracy of SLA prints is 50 to 200 microns depending on size, resin, model geometry and support generation.

How we work

Print
Print

We swiftly 3D print your parts and take care of any finishing requirements

Delivery
Delivery

Within days you receive your custom 3D printed parts

Design Guidelines Stereolithography