Stereolithography – more commonly referred to as SLA 3D printing – is one of the most popular and widespread techniques in the world of additive manufacturing. It works by using a high-powered laser to harden liquid resin that is contained in a reservoir to create the desired 3D shape. In a nutshell, this process converts photosensitive liquid into 3D solid plastics in a layer by-layer fashion using a low power laser and photopolymerization.
Every standard SLA 3D printer is generally composed of four primary sections:
* A tank filled with the liquid photopolymer: The liquid resin is usually a clear and liquid plastic.
* A perforated platform immersed in a tank: The platform is lowered into the tank and can move up and down according to the printing process.
* A high-powered, ultraviolet laser.
* A computer interface, which manages both the platform and the laser movements.
SLA 3D Printing Advantages:
* SLA is one of the most precise 3D printing techniques on the market.
* Prototypes can be created with extremely high quality, with finely detailed features (thin walls, sharp corners, etc…) and complex geometrical shapes. Layer thicknesses can be made as low as 25 μm, with minimum feature sizes between 50 and 250 μm.
* SLA provides the tightest dimensional tolerances of any rapid prototyping or additive manufacturing technology: +/- 0.005″ (0.127 mm) for the first inch, and an additional 0.002″ for each additional inch.
* Print surfaces are smooth.
* Build volumes can be as high as 2700*900*800mm without sacrificing precision.