Stereolithography (SLA)

At a Glance

Lifecycle

Lead Time

Materials

Resolution

For visual applications, Prototypes for limited functional testing
3-5 days
0.025-0.1 mm

About the Process

Stereolithography (SLA) is an additive manufacturing process that belongs to the Vat Photopolymerization family. In SLA, an object is created by selectively curing a polymer resin layer-by-layer using an ultraviolet (UV) laser beam. The materials used in SLA are photosensitive thermoset polymers that come in a liquid form.

SLA is famous for being the first 3D Printing technology: its inventor patented the technology back in 1986. If parts of very high accuracy or smooth surface finish are needed, SLA is the most cost-effective 3D printing technology available. Best results are achieved when the designer takes advantage of the benefits and limitations of the manufacturing process.

SLA has many common characteristics with Direct Light Processing (DLP), another Vat Photopolymerization 3D printing technology. For simplicity, the two technologies can be treated as equals.

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Materials

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Standard Resin

High-detail resin that produces parts with a smooth,
injection mold-like surface finish. It is
brittle and used for non-functional parts.

Material

Standard Resin

Lead Time

2-4 days

Resolution

0.025-0.1 mm

Pricing

Max Temp

60C
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Tough Resin

Tough resin (SLA) mimics the properties of ABS
and produces parts with improved mechanical
properties compared to standard resin.
Can be used for functional parts.

Material

Tough resin (ABS-like)

Lead Time

3-5 days

Resolution

0.025-0.1 mm

Pricing

Max Temp

-
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Durable resin

Durable resin (SLA) mimics the properties of PP and
is semi-flexible, making it ideal for snap fit
assemblies and high-detail durable prototypes.

Material

Durable resin (PP-like)

Lead Time

3-5 days

Resolution

0.025-0.1mm

Pricing

Max Temp

-
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Clear Resin

Clear resin (SLA) has a semi-transparent appearance,
but can be post processed to a smooth and
almost fully optically clear finish.

Material

Clear Resin

Lead Time

3-5 days

Resolution

0.02-0.1 mm

Pricing

Max Temp

-
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Heat resistant resin

Heat resistant resin (SLA) has high strength and stiffness
and excellent temperature resistance. Used
for low-cost, low-run injection molds.

Material

Heat resistane resin

Lead Time

3-5 days

Resolution

0.025-0.1 mm

Pricing

Max Temp

238 °C @ 0.45 MPa
289 °C @ 0.45 MPa
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Castable resin

Castable resin (SLA) is a high-detail resin used
to produces patterns for investment casting.
They burn out cleanly with no ash or residue.

Material

Castable resin

Lead Time

3-5 days

Resolution

0.025-0.1 mm

Pricing

Max Temp

-
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Accura 60

A hard, clear plastic with the aesthetics of molded
polycarbonate (PC). Good for Tough functional
prototypes, Transparent assemblies, Lighting
components etc.

Material

Accura 60

Lead Time

3-5 days

Resolution

0.025-0.1 mm

Pricing

Max Temp

60C
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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).

Material

Accura 25

Lead Time

3-5 days

Resolution

0.025-0.1 mm

Pricing

Max Temp

65C

Design Recommendations

Max Part Size

Min Feature Size

Tolerance

Min Wall Thickness

Min Hole Diameter

Min Gaps for Mating Parts

650 x 750 x 550 mm
0.5 mm
± 0.5% (min: ± 0.2 mm)
1 – 3 mm (depending on part dimensions)
1 mm
0.1 mm minimum; 0.2 mm to ensure fit

+ Design for Manufacturing Tips

- No internal cavities
- Gaps for mating parts: 0.1mm off of each wall
- Ribbing helps avoid warping on long, flat parts