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What Is Stereolithography?

Stereolithography (SLA) is a "Rapid Prototyping" process which produces a physical, three dimensional object , a "conceptual model" or "master pattern"!

Always produced from computer solid model, "3D CAD file", "master model".

A stereolithography machine uses a computer controlled laser to cure a photo-sensitive resin, layer by layer, to create the 3D part.

Producing a pre-production SLA prototype of a part can greatly enhance the geometric visualization of a product, as well as communication between project team members.

Stereolithography is fast, allowing prototypes to be made in a matter of days, and the complexity of the model is seldom a factor.

Benefits of Stereolithography

  • Crisp, highly-detailed pieces
  • Speed of delivery (usually 2-3 days)
  • Tolerances within .004"/inch

Best Applications of SLA Technology

  • Aesthetic & conceptual models
  • Parts requiring detail & accuracy
  • Master patterns for castings and secondary processes
  • Medical models.

Stereolithography master models can also be used for "master patterns" when it comes time for metal castings and are easily modified to accommodate any last minute changes. Additionally, SLA models can be used for photo-optic stress analysis as well as dynamic vibrational analysis, which further extends engineering design capabilities.

SLA is really "Rapid Modeling" since the objects generated from existing photo-sensitive resins or photo polymers do not have the physical, mechanical or thermal properties typically required of end use production material. There is much ongoing research and development in the area of durable materials.

Rapid Prototyping is the next step in fast, cost effective part production. This is cutting edge technology, which can be applied to almost every industry, including oil refining, petrochemical, power, marine, and municipal and medical. Stereolithography can be a very practical and useful process in many situations.

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