ABOUT SLA 3D PRINTING
SLA (Stereolithography) is a method of additive manufacturing. This involves turning a liquid into a solid layer by layer using a curing process called photopolymerisation.
The result of SLA printing is extremely high quality parts and the ability create intricate details to a very high degree of accuracy and precision. Parts are left with a smooth surface finish, therefore making the process ideal for creating organic shapes in applications such as model making, engineering, jewellery design and even dentistry.
Because material starts life as a resin, there is a wide range of materials available with specific properties. This includes tough engineering resins through to specialist resins for dental use. Flexible resins also allow the creation of flexible components and 'soft touch' finishes. Dyes and pigments can also be used to create bespoke colours depending on your requirements.
The resulting parts are functional with a wide range of applications, depending on your requirements. Prints are usually used for one off prototypes but low volume manufacturing is also possible.
SLA 3D PRINTING WORK?
SLA (Stereolithography) is an additive manufacturing method that uses vat photopolymerisation. This is the process of using UV light to cure liquid resin into hardened plastic.
Using a predetermined path, the UV light uses a computerised mirror to move its focus on a concentrated area of the resin, one layer at a time, in turn solidifying the resin into the required shape.
Once the print is completed, it is possible to improve mechanical and thermal properties further by carrying out a post-curing process.This stabilises the material properties for optimum performance, ideal for engineering purposes and flexible parts.
WHEN TO USE SLA 3D PRINTING
SLA (Stereolithography) 3D printing creates parts to an excellent resolution as low as 25 microns. As a result, the surface finish is smooth, shapes can be organic and very intricate details can be created.
Furthermore, because the resin is cured, the bond in the resin form strong covalent bonds, offering high mechanical and lateral strength. Coupled with the excellent surface finish, this is ideal for engineering and functional applications such as creation of moulds for silicone tooling.
Because the material is supplied in resin form, this can be altered to offer bespoke material properties and colours. Unique material properties made available through the SLA 3D printing method include transparent and opaque parts through to flexible parts which appear soft to touch.
SLA MATERIALS & APPLICATIONS
The SLA printing method offers a wide range of printing materials, designed many designed for specific applications. On request, we can print in any of the following:
Great for general purpose prototyping and design, capturing small details.
White Resin captures smooth surfaces and details, making it great for presentation-ready pieces or as a base for painted prints
Polishes to near optical transparency, making it ideal for working with light or showcasing internal features.
Reinforced with glass to offer very high stiffness and a polished finish. This material is highly resistant to deformation over time and is great for printing thin walls and features.
A silica-filled Ceramic Resin can be fired to create a fully ceramic piece.
Simulates Polypropylene, ideal for parts that require a ductile plastic that can flex.
Simulates ABS. Less brittle than our Standard resins, this material is great for rugged prototypes and assemblies.
High Temperature Resin
Has a HDT of 289 ºC @ 0.45MPa, ideal for static applications that will undergo higher temperatures. Can also be used for work top injection moulding.
Simulates an 80A durometer rubber, and makes parts that can bend and compress.
Simulates a 50A durometer silicone, parts can stretch, bend and compress.
Burns out cleanly with no ash or residue, capturing your high-resolution prints through investment casting. Ideal for jewellery making.
Dental SG Resin
Dental SG is a Class 1 biocompatible resin (EN-ISO 10993-1:2009/AC:2010, USP Class VI) designed to directly print surgical and pilot drill guides
SLA PRINTING PROS
Great for intricate details
Provides a very smooth surface
Parts can be cured as a secondary process to maximise strength and stability
A wide range of materials from engineering to medical grade polymers
Can create flexible parts that appear soft to touch
High lateral strength
Resin creates a thermosetting plastic
Resolution up to 25 microns
Bespoke colours including transparent
SLA PRINTING CONS
Only suitable for small parts
Unnecessary for many applications
Extensive post processing and part clean up required (higher cost)
Support material the same as part material and must be removed manually
Read our detailed design guidelines for designing parts for the SLA 3D printing process.