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What is Stereolithography?

Stereolithography (SLA) is an industrial 3D printing process(or additive manufacturing process) used to create concept models, cosmetic prototypes, and complex parts with intricate geometries in as fast as several hours.

With SLA, a wide selection of materials, extremely high feature resolutions, and quality surface finishes are possible. Stereolithography (SLA) is an additive manufacturing process that can 3D print parts with small features, tight tolerance requirements, and smooth surface finishes.

How Does SLA 3D Printing Work?

SLA 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process that uses ultraviolet (UV) light on the tank of liquid photopolymer resin to selectively solidify part features. A UV laser creates the next layer by selectively curing and solidifying the photopolymer resin. The UV light continues this process through the entire vat of resin, selectively curing and solidifying the resin to match the design of the CAD file. Structural supports are created during the pre-build setup process. When the parts are immaculate, the support structures are manually removed. The parts are then washed in a solvent solution to remove uncured resin and receive a final post-cure in a UV light oven. Parts undergo a UV curing cycle to solidify the outer surface of the part thoroughly. The final step in the SLA process is the application of any custom or customer-specified finishing.

Common Stereolithography Applications

Concept Models

The speed, accuracy, and great surface finish of SLA parts lets product developers create physical snapshots of their designs through the iterative process.

Rapid Prototyping

SLA can be used to create fully-functional prototypes, with materials that can simulate polypropylene, polycarbonate, ABS, and rigid composites.

Direct Digital Manufacturing

The high accuracy and consistency of SLA makes it an ideal way to build large quantities of discrete or customized parts.

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RJC SLA Design Guidelines and Capabilities

Maximum build size 145 × 145 × 175 mm (5.7″ x 5.7″ x 6.8″)
Minimum Feature Size 0.2 mm (0.00787”)
Minimum Wall Thickness 0.0025 in. – 0.010 in. (0635mm – 0.254mm)
Dimensional accuracy ± 0.5% with a lower limit of ± 0.15 mm (± 0.006″)
Layer height 25-100 um
Layer Thickness 0.001 in. -0.004 in.(0.0254mm-0.1016mm)
Unsupported / Supported walls 1.0 mm (0.0393”)/0.5 mm (0.0197”)
Minimum hole diameter 0.5 mm (0.0197”)
Minimum escape hole diameter 4.0 mm (0.157”)
Standard lead time 4 business days

SLA Material Options

Type Material Type Material
ABS-Like ABS-Like White (Accura Xtreme White 200) PC-Like PC-Like Advanced High Temp (Accura 5530)
ABS-Like ABS-Like Gray (Accura Xtreme Gray) PC-Like PC-Like Translucent/Clear (Accura 60)
ABS-Like ABS-Like Black (Accura 7820) PC-Like Ceramic-Like (Advanced HighTemp PerFORM)
ABS-Like MicroFine™ (Gray and Green) PC-Like Metal Plating
ABS-Like ABS-Like Translucent/Clear (WaterShed XC 11122) PC-Like PP-Like Translucent White (Somos 9120)

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