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Stereolithography - SLA 3D Printing Technology

SLA 3D printers create 3D printed parts from a liquid photo-polymer resin by using a light source to solidify the liquid material.

To create a 3D printed object, a build platform is submerged into a translucent tank filled with liquid resin. Once the build platform is submerged, light source inside the 3D Printer makes each layer of the part from the bottom of the tank. When light source comes in contact with resign, it gets solidified and the platform lifts up and lets a new layer of resin flow below the part. This process is repeated layer by layer until the required part is completed.

SLA 3D Printing technology is also available in desktop 3D printers. Materials are limited to resins. With SLA 3D printing it is feasible to make high strength to flexible part.


Application

  • Produce highly accurate parts
  • Smooth surface finish
  • Used for highly detailed sculptures
  • Used for making jewellery moulds and prototypes
  • Not recommended for printing large objects.

Type Of SLA Processes

  • Right Side up SLA
  • Upside Down (inverted) SLA

Right-Side Up SLA

Right-side up SLA machines are built around a large tank containing the liquid resin, and the build platform. The UV laser focuses onto the surface of the resin.  The build platform then moves down at a distance equal to the thickness of a single layer, and a resin-filled blade sweeps across the vat to recoat it with fresh material. In thus way consecutive layers on top of the others is built until the part is finished.

Due to the large setup, maintenance requirements, and material volume, right-side up SLA requires a high initial investment and is expensive to run.

 


Upside-Down (Inverted) SLA

Inverted stereolithography process uses a tank with transparent bottom and non-stick surface, which serves as a substrate for the liquid resin to cure against, allowing for the gentle detachment of newly-formed layers. A build platform moves down into a resin tank, leaving space equal to the layer height in between the build platform, or the last completed layer, and the bottom of the tank.

Advantage of this upside-down approach is that the build volume can substantially exceed the volume of the tank, since the machine only requires enough material to keep the bottom of the build vat continuously covered with liquid.


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