• Stereolithography and Laser Sintering (SLA)

    In 1987 Chuck Hull of 3D Systems launched the first stereolithography machine and shortly afterwards a reporter coined the expression ‘rapid prototyping’.  SLA is a process whereby a laser converts a liquid photopolymer into a solid plastic layer by layer. Each layer is different and a 3D model is built up on a perforated plate in the bath of photopolymer.


    SLA provides the greatest accuracy with an excellent surface finish. Process works by curing liquid photopolymers when exposed to ultraviolet light. SLA is limited in its range of applicable materials but still widely used for conceptual designs, Product verification, Pattern making, Form/Fit analysis and light functional testing.


    SLA Highlights


    -Excellent for Fit and Form Testing and Show Models.

    -Excellent surface finish, suitable for conceptual and presentation designs.

    -Excellent feature detail, suitable for making master models for vacuum casting process.


    -Parts are fragile need to be careful before using for thin wall sections and only recommended for light functional testing. Generally not recommended for snap fitting or living hinge features.

    -Most of SLA parts are sensitive to heat, moisture and chemicals. Not recommended for high humidity or excessive temperature applications.

    -SLA may not be the cheapest option for prototyping needs, some of the factors determining the price are: Volume, overall size specially height, complexity, surface finish and postprocessing needed.

    *Price Factor: Multi pieces of same part are always economical than single piece. Even various SLA models ordered at the same time as a single batch are much cheaper to make than ordering separately.

    *SLA Finish Options: Standard, bead blasted, Primed, Painted, eletroplated, vacuum metalizing.


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