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Stereolithography (SLA) 3D Printing

Stereolithography (SLA) models offer the most accurate type of fit/form prototype for the verification of any design before committing to your chosen production route. Its high accuracy and good surface finish makes it the preferred choice for designer models, engineering verification and master patterns for silicone rubber molds.

Stereolithography (SLA) utilizes a vat of liquid photopolymer resin cured by an Ultra Violet (UV) laser to solidify the pattern layer by layer to create a solid 3D model from customer supplied 3D data. The SLA process addresses the widest range of rapid manufacturing applications.

What is Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing?

Stereolithography (SLA) is an additive manufacturing process that can 3D print parts with small features, tight tolerance requirements, and smooth surface finishes.

Stereolithography uses light to cure liquid resin into a solid object, one layer at a time. For each layer, the laser beam traces a cross-section of the part pattern on the surface of the liquid resin. Exposure to the ultraviolet laser light cures and solidifies the pattern traced on the resin and joins it to the layer below. Stereolithography requires generating supporting structures that attach the part to the elevator platform. This offers dimensional freedom and complexity. Stereolithography can be used for a wide variety of applications including functional prototyping and rapid tooling.

Parts produced through stereolithography are strong enough to be machined and can be used as master patterns for injection molding, thermoforming, blow molding, and various metal casting processes. Although SLA can produce multiple parts, it tends to be expensive due to the cost of the liquid resin and the post-processing required removing supports and smoothing the surfaces by sanding.
Explore complex, precise prototypes and display models with stereolithography at RJCmold. Contact us today to discuss your next project or request a quote.

How Does SLA 3D Printing Work?

The SLA machine begins drawing the layers of the support structures, followed by the part itself, with an ultraviolet laser aimed onto the surface of a liquid thermoset resin. After a layer is imaged on the resin surface, the build platform shifts down and a recoating bar moves across the platform to apply the next layer of resin. The process is repeated layer by layer until the build is complete.

Newly built parts are taken out of machine and into a lab where solvents are used to remove any additional resins. When the parts are completely clean, the support structures are manually removed. From there, parts undergo a UV-curing cycle to fully solidify the outer surface of the part. The final step in the SLA process is the application of any custom or customer-specified finishing. Parts built in SLA should be used with minimal UV and humidity exposure so they don’t degrade.

Stereolithography (SLA or STL) – a frequently used 3D printing process in rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing. The applications for stereolithography vary widely and range from the creation of design studies and functional prototypes to presentation models.
Especially in prototyping, stereolithography is ideal for product development. Why? SLA 3D printing is ideal for detailed models or small series as it delivers high precision, flexibility of component size, very good surface properties, a wide variety of available materials and fast delivery times.

Common Stereolithography Applications

RJC SLA Design Guidelines and Capabilities

Description Standard
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)

Finishing options for SLA 3D printed parts

After being taken out of the 3D printer, parts are washed, support structures and witness marks are removed where necessary, and they are inspected visually. For the next-day Express service, parts can also be lightly bead blasted.

If customers opt for the Standard or Economy service, additional finishing options include build line removal, lacquering, painting, application of a ‘soft feel’ coating to external surfaces, and a blackout/EMI/RFI coating can be applied inside. Assembly operations can be performed, such as installing threaded inserts.

See our Finishing options page to find out more.

Stereolithography Services – Get The Best Result At An Affordable Price

Do you need to create accurate and high-resolution parts with 3D technology? We have the best professionals to create these parts with stereolithography. Our team is efficient at dealing with this powerful technology for rapid prototyping and low-volume production. So, rely on us for SLA (stereolithography) printing services.

SLA is a 3D printing process, which involves using ultraviolet laser beams to cure photopolymer cross-sections precisely. Based on the CAD data, we build parts and prototypes. Moreover, we have invested in the best tools and casting patterns to provide quality services.

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