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Thread: What is a SLA Printer?

              
   
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    What is a SLA Printer?

    Stereolithography (SLA) provides accurate concept models, master patterns and investment casting patterns in record time. Along with PolyJet, SLA is among the most accurate and precise rapid prototyping technologies available. Complete in-house finishing capabilites for production-like prototypes ensures that your models and patterns are delivered on time and ready for immediate application.

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    To add a bit to the above, this method uses a resin that is sensitive to ultraviolet light. The build platform exposes a thin layer of this resin which is cured, then the build platform is lowered and more resin covers the top, this layer is then cured and the process is repeated. The completed component is then removed from the vat and can be machined to final specification.

    Para

    Sources:
    What is Stereolithography? | 3D Printing | LiveScience
    Stereolithography - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    I would consider the From1 "true" SLA, but how about the B9 and the Solidator? Also, I disagree that UV is "required" - if the material can be cured with visible light that is also SLA. I would consider both the B9 and the Solidator to be "SLA technology", and both use visible light rather than UV...
    CAD, CAM, Scanning, Modelling, Machining and more. http://www.mcpii.com/3dservices.html

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    Fair enough, I cited my sources since I don't have a SLA Printer myself. Great to hear the additional feedback.

    Why do you think the B9 and the Solidator are not "true" SLA? A quick review of their descriptions seem to match the overall SLA concept of a layer of resin hardend by a lightsource, repeat until complete.

    Para

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    SLA or sterolithography is a technique in which a light sensitive (typically visible light or UV) resin is solidified in layers to produce a 3D object.

    Depending on the light source and resin, this will typically be a fairly fast process, going much faster than filament or paste based systems as there is no need to move great distances for the layers. It can also offer much greater accuracy/resolution for printing, again, depending on the light source and resin. And there is no need for heat.

    However it will typically require expensive photosensitive resins that need to be stored in a dark environment and can have a limited shelf life. Some designs require their tank to be completely full to be used, with the object then being submerged into the resin, others use only a small amount, and can then have issues with accuracy of layer height as the resin solidifies and is removed from the tank by the build platform; those type also have the light pass through the entirety of the resin layer before reaching the object, limiting z resolution. These resins are also typically impossible to reuse, unlike filament based systems where they can sometimes be melted or dissolved.

    It also requires somewhat complex optical systems to position the light, with some using data projectors and others using lasers and mirrors. There is also the issue of having to clean excess resin off the printed object.

    One final problem is each print can only use 1 resin (either pure resin or a mix), unlike filament or paste based systems that are capable of using multiple materials or colours, meaning any supports will be in the same material.

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    Stereolithography (SLA also known as stereolithography apparatus, optical fabrication, photo-solidification, or resin printing) is a form of 3-D printing technology used for creating models, prototypes, patterns, and production parts in a layer by layer fashion using photopolymerization, a process by which light causes chains of molecules to link together, forming polymers.

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