Stereolithography, or SLA, is a 3D printing process that uses an ultraviolet laser to cure layers of liquid photopolymer resin into solid objects. The process begins with the laser tracing a cross-section of the part onto the surface of a vat filled with liquid photopolymer resin, hardening the resin touched by it into a solid layer. The printer then lowers the build platform by one layer and traces the next cross-section, bonding it to the previous layer. This process is repeated until the part is complete.
This technology is ideal for medium to large parts requiring high-resolution finishes and good mechanical properties. It is an extremely cost-effective and efficient solution for creating durable, high-quality parts of considerable sizes.
SLA was invented by Chuck Hull in 1986 and is the first commercial rapid prototyping technology now known as 3D printing.
SLA 3D printing has a diverse range of applications across many industries.
|3D Systems Accura® 25||Accurate and flexible plastic ideal for snap-fit assemblies, master patterns for vacuum casting, and durable functional prototypes with the aesthetics of molded polypropylene (PP).|
|3D Systems Accura® 48HTR||Rigid and stiff plastic material for applications that require high heat resistance. Material transparency allows for the visualization of internal structures in assemblies.|
|3D Systems Accura® 60||Clear plastic for quickly producing rigid and strong parts with the aesthetics of molded polycarbonate (PC). Also suitable for investment casting patterns.|
|3D Systems Accura® ABS Black (SL 7820)||Rigid and tough material that allows users to build black parts without painting. Simulates and replaces CNC-machined black ABS articles for functional assemblies and short-run production parts.|
|3D Systems Accura® Bluestone™||Stable engineered nano-composite for high stiffness parts such as wind tunnel test models, fixtures, jigs and tools, lighting components, "under-the-hood" automotive parts, and electrical components.|
|3D Systems Accura® ClearVue™||High-clarity plastic with excellent humidity/moisture resistance for a multitude of applications where transparency is key such as headlamps, complex assemblies, or fluid flow. Capable of meeting USP Class VI.|
|3D Systems Accura® Xtreme™||Ultra-tough grey plastic that resists breakage and handles challenging functional assemblies. Replaces CNC-machined polypropylene (PP) and ABS. Also ideal for master patterns for vacuum casting.|
|3D Systems Accura® Xtreme™ White 200||Ultra-tough white plastic that resists breakage and handles challenging functional assemblies. Replaces CNC-machined polypropylene (PP) and ABS. Also ideal for master patterns for vacuum casting.|
|Covestro Somos® EvoLVe 128||A durable material that produces accurate, highly-detailed parts and has been designed for easy finishing. Has a look and feel that is almost indistinguishable from finished traditional thermoplastics, making it perfect for building end-use parts like jigs and fixtures or prototypes for functional testing applications.|
|Covestro Somos® NeXt||Provides the accuracy of SLA with the look, feel, and performance of a thermoplastic. Nearly indistinguishable from finished traditional thermoplastics, but has toughness, durability, and accuracy not traditionally seen in stereolithography resins. Produces very accurate parts with high feature detail, making it a strong fit for functional testing applications and prototypes.|
|Covestro Somos® PerFORM||The material of choice for applications that require strong, stiff, high temperature resistant composite parts. Has the lowest viscosity of any composite SLA material, meaning parts are faster to build, easier to post-process, possess superior sidewall quality, and have unmatched detail resolution. Excellent high heat tolerance, outstanding detail resolution, and stiffness make it an ideal material for various applications, including tooling, wind tunnel testing, high-temperature testing, electrical casings, and automotive housings.|
|Covestro Somos® ProtoGen 18420||An easy-to-print, ABS-like photopolymer that produces accurate parts ideal for general-purpose applications. Offers superior chemical resistance, a wide processing latitude, and excellent tolerance to a broad range of temperatures and humidity, both during and after the build.|
|Covestro Somos® ProtoTherm 12120||Delivers high temperature resistance with exceptional surface finishing and superior dimensional stability, making parts more robust. Provides smooth, durable red parts with quicker turnaround times for testing.|
|Covestro Somos® WaterClear Ultra 10122||An optically clear material that is easy to use and fast to build. Produces colorless, functional, and accurate parts that simulate an acrylic appearance. Parts exhibit excellent water and temperature resistance. Also provides refractive values similar to engineered plastics for functional testing in optical light transmission work.|
|Covestro Somos® WaterShed Black||Provides a solution to build rigid, tough parts while eliminating the need for painting or coating. With similar properties to Somos® WaterShed XC 11122, this multipurpose resin provides the same benefits in a black stereolithography material. With its improved formulation, Somos® WaterShed Black has up to 50% faster processing speed than alternative black resins, offering minimal finishing and more consistent processing over time. It offers a truer black color off the machine vs. others currently available resins. This material also has a smooth surface finish, as well as superior moisture and chemical resistance.|
|Covestro Somos® WaterShed XC 11122||The clear solution for designers looking for ABS and PBT-like properties for stereolithography technology. Produces highly detailed parts with superior clarity and water resistance. Mimicks the look and feel of clear thermoplastics such as ABS and PBT.|
The table below depicts the general tolerances for industrial-grade stereolithography (SLA) services. Stresses during the build, support strategy, and other geometry considerations may cause deviation in tolerances and flatness. Improved tolerances may be possible and must be approved on a case-by-case basis. General tolerances apply before secondary finishing or post-processing unless otherwise specified.
Up to 29″ x 25″ x 21″ (736.6 x 635 x 533.4 mm)
Up to 10″ x 10″ x 10″ (254 x 254 x 254 mm)
0.004″ (0.1016 mm)
0.002″ (0.0508 mm)
Tolerance, XY plane
±0.005″ (0.127 mm) for the first inch (25.4 mm) is typical, plus ±0.002″ (0.0508 mm) for every inch thereafter
Tolerance, Z plane
±0.010″ (0.254 mm) for the first inch (25.4 mm) is typical, plus ±0.002″ (0.0508 mm) for every inch thereafter
Minimum linear feature size
Under 0.030″ (0.762 mm) is at risk and under 0.020″ (0.508 mm) will not build
Under 0.020″ (0.508 mm) is at risk and under 0.010″ (0.254 mm) will not build
Minimum radial feature size
0.035″ (0.889 mm)
0.030″ (0.762 mm)
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