This technology is ideal for high-resolution finishes on medium- to large-sized parts. It is an extremely cost-effective solution for creating durable, aesthetically pleasing parts of considerable size on a tight deadline. Stereolithography (SLA) resins with extremely high heat deflection are available and are great candidates for molds or inserts.
How does the Stereolithography technology work? SLA cures photopolymer resin with an ultraviolet laser. The laser traces a shape dictated by the original file across the surface of the resin bath. The resin touched by the laser hardens, then the build platform descends in the resin bath and the process is repeated until the entire part is complete.
|LEAD TIME||OPTIMAL |
|MAXIMUM DIMENSIONS||SUGGESTED MINIMUM |
|Accura 25||1-3 Days*||1-10 parts||650 x 750 x 550 mm||1mm|| || |
|Accura ClearVue||650 x 750 x 550 mm|
*Parts over 250mm in any dimension require quote review.
Depending on the material chosen, SLA parts can have high impact strength, high temperature performance, water resistance, stiffness and rigidity.
We offer several finishing options for your SLA parts–please inquire about the finishing you would like to achieve with a Fathom expert. Our finishing services provide you with a one-stop-shop for all your prototype and production needs, including painting, texturing, engraving and plating.
Fathom supports businesses across multiple industries to innovate and meet their goals using stereolithography technology. Some applications of SLA include //
Stereolithography (SLA) is a 3D printing method that uses both a UV laser and a resin that can be cured by UV light. A single laser is directed to specific areas to cure the resin and create a solid pattern. SLA is popular because it can print parts with greater precision than traditional Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) machines.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is another 3D printing process that uses a laser to melt, sinter, or fuse together particles, which result in a 3D part. SLS printers are commonly used for plastic, metal and ceramics. These materials are usually in powdered form. SLS does not require support as the unsintered powder around the part provides support. SLS has a broader range of materials available.
There are a number of differences between SLA and SLS. Selective laser sintering machines use a very powerful laser and as such, they are entirely encased, blocking the view of the part as it is printed. SLA machines are typically enclosed in tinted glass or plastic, which allows the operator to view the part as it is being built. SLS does not use toxic resins and the powdered material is considered easier to work with. Objects made by SLA machines are complex and detailed but can be brittle. SLS parts are not as detailed, but still complex and are considered suitable for mechanical use.
FDM deposits thermoplastic filament through a hot extruder, layering the material in the print area, resulting in a 3D part. Stereolithography also builds parts layer-by-layer but utilizes a laser and resin instead. In FDM, the part’s smoothness and precision largely depend on the extruder’s movements and nozzle size. SLA is capable of producing accurate and smooth parts. This is because the laser does not exert as much force on the workpiece. The ability to make parts with finer details is why SLA may be preferred for specific projects. There are also differences in post processing. FDM parts may need to be sanded to achieve a smoother surface. SLA parts have a sticky residue after being removed from the machine and must be washed in a bath of isopropyl alcohol. FDM is considered the right choice when precision is not essential or for rapid prototyping. Stereolithography is useful for projects requiring intricacy and smooth surfaces, and when strength and durability are not critical. SLA is also an excellent choice for creating molds for casting.
A //Please refer to our list of finishes above.
A //Yes, SLA parts can be milled, drilled, tapped, or lathed.
A //SLA can be used for small and large parts. These parts may have tight dimensional tolerances and require smoother finishes, which are all possible with SLA.
A //SLA is slower than FDM because the SLA printer’s laser has a smaller surface area and takes more time to complete each layer. In FDM, the printer can print thicker layers, which results in a reduction of time.
Here is a summary of the history of Stereolithography //
Brands use SLA for many reasons. SLA is an excellent choice if your project requires fine features, smooth surface finishing, part precision and accuracy, isotropy, mechanical attributes, water tightness or versatility of materials.
There are many advantages to stereolithography, including //
SLA offers a combination of high-quality resolution and surface finishes at large volumes. SLA is also very effective at faithfully capturing the intricacies of even the most complex parts. Clear SLA resins can achieve colorless clarity with additional post processing to mimic clear plastics. SLA specializes in creating parts that are highly cost-intensive to produce using any other method of manufacturing, being consistently used for trade show models, aesthetic parts and snap fits/functional assemblies.
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