How Does Stereolithography 3D Printers Build High-Quality Parts?

November 30, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing is a part of a technology known as resin 3D printing, which is an industrial 3-D printing process. The machine uses a single laser directed to certain points of a pattern to cure the resin material and solidify it into hardened plastic. This machine creates high isotropic parts. In addition, this printing process can be used to build certain components such as cosmetic-rapid prototypes, concept models, as well as complex parts. These components can be produced in as little as one day. 

SLA machines are known for their precision, sharp detail, and adaptability to manufacturing various products. 

How Do Stereolithography 3D Printers Build High-Quality Parts?

There are a few steps that the 3D printer operator needs to take before they can start assembling the part. 

1. Sketch

First, they use a Computer-aided design (CAD) software program to draw out an exact 2D or 3D design of the desired physical product to a scale of 1 AutoCAD Unit = 1 Foot. Then they export the model design into a 3D printable file format such as SLA, which consists of printing settings to specify any necessary changes.

Upon the completion of the setup, the instructions are sent to the 3D printer to start the layers of the model via cable or wireless.

2. Printing

Once the sketch is complete, the printing of the 3-D model can commence. The printer prints each intricate detail of the geometry of the model over a set period of time.

3. Cleaning

After the model is complete and the candidate printing the model is satisfied with the outcome, the SLA part will need to be cleaned in order to remove any residual resin (uncured). The part(s) are then placed in a cleaning solution, and the resin is gently removed from the surface of the part. 

4. Curation

After the part is cleaned in the solution, it will go into the oven to be cured. A UV oven is used to perform this step of the process. 

What Are the Advantages of Stereolithography?

In the world of manufacturing, time is money. The faster a part can be produced and the cheaper it can be produced, the higher the profits are. Stereolithography allows manufacturers, or just about anyone interested in printing, to print 3-D models at a higher speed, at a lower cost, with much more precision, and with a lot more flexibility. 

Take the medical field, for example. Stereolithography allows printers to print models and prototypes for approval in a much faster and shorter time. The models and prototypes help refine the final product and prove the design’s structural integrity. 

What Material Does Stereolithography Use?

The liquid materials used for SLA 3-D printing are commonly referred to as resin and are thermoset polymers. There is currently a wide range of resins available for printing; some are even appropriate for home use. 



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