What is Stereolithography?
Stereolithography (SLA) is a form of additive manufacturing that uses UV light to cure UV sensitive resin. Stereolithography is similar to fused deposition modelling as it relies on building successive layers on top of one another. A UV light is directed to a location on a build plate submerged in resin causing it to solidify. This process is repeated over and over again to slowly develop the part.
The main distinguishing factor between the SLA and FDM is the resolution and layer height that can be achieved. The layer height of SLA printers is generally 0.025mm to 0.1mm, significantly smaller than FDM. With a resolution of around 0.5 um the final product appears almost completely smooth. This precision allows for small parts to be produced with ease.
When to use Stereolithography
Stereolithography is usually reserved for small or highly detailed parts as each additional layer results in significant increases in manufacturing time. Typically most larger parts can be handled by FDM processes. There are cases however when SLA may be necessary on larger parts.
SLA like FDM is suitable for small runs and prototyping. Especially when the component has complex geometry that cannot be produced with subtractive manufacturing.
If you need help selecting the right process to manufacture your part please contact us.
SLA is restricted to UV sensitive resins. Despite the restriction there are still a number of colours available to choose from.