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SLA Prototyping (Stereolithography) is a rapid prototyping technology that uses 3D CAD data to produce highly accurate physical parts very quickly and without the expense or delay of creating a tool. SLA machines ‘build’ parts by curing resin with a super fine laser. It’s proven, it’s reliable and we believe it is superior to many of the new 3D printing technologies that have emerged in recent years.
What follows is a Design Guide to SLA; we provide insight in to the process, what can be achieved using SLA and highlight some of the features which we think make it so great.
SLA is highly desirable as a go to service when the pressure is on. As an established technology SLA is incredibly reliable; we have a build success rate of over 99%.
SLA parts can be built in standard resolution or high resolution. Standard resolution builds parts in 0.1mm layers; these parts can have features as small as 0.4mm. High resolution parts are built at twice the resolution with build layers of 0.05mm, with features as small as 0.25mm.
Standard build parts can be built to a tolerance of +/-0.3%, whilst high resolution parts can be built to a tolerance of +/-0.2%. This is extremely accurate for parts produced from rapid prototyped methods.
SLA is a direct build prototyping process, and is an extremely fast way to create parts. This means we can produce prototype parts in as little as a few hours and often ship parts within 24 hours of receiving 3D CAD data.
With the SLA prototyping process we can build parts in a wide range of materials; the resins used replicate PP, ABS and PC. Material properties offered by these resins include clear, rigid, flexible and high temperature resistance.
SLA parts have an excellent surface finish. The layers created in the build process are extremely fine, and require none or minimal post processing. There are various finishes available, Unfinished, Basic finish and Bespoke finish.
Depending on your requirements, we can polish surfaces, apply paint, metallise parts and incorporate graphics, enabling SLAs to look like production quality components.
SLA prototyping offers no real limits on size, we can create parts with wall sections as thin as 0.25mm, or we can join pieces to create oversized parts.
Unlike traditional tool based production processes, as a direct build process SLA offers no real design limits. We can build ‘ship in a bottle’ type parts that cannot be made by traditional techniques. Bypassing the need for complicated tools, costs can be kept low and time scales reduced.