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Reasons why you should opt SLA 3D Printing?

Because of its fine features, smooth surface finish, ultimate part precision and accuracy, and mechanical qualities like isotropy, watertightness, and material adaptability, SLA 3D printing is preferred by engineers, designers, manufacturers, and many other professionals.

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Isotropy can be attained in SLA 3D printing

Since 3D printing builds things one layer at a time, the strength of finished prints may vary depending on how the part is oriented in relation to the printing process, with differing qualities in the X, Y, and Z axes.

A characteristic of extrusion-based 3D printing techniques like fused deposition modelling (FDM) is anisotropy, which refers to variations from layer to layer throughout the printing process. For some applications, this anisotropy restricts the utility of FDM, or it necessitates more part geometry revisions to make up for it.

SLA resin 3D printers, on the other hand, produce things that are quite isotropic. By integrating material chemistry with the print process, it is possible to closely manage a number of parameters that contribute to component isotropy. Although covalent bonds are formed between resin components during printing, the part is still in a “green state” of partial reaction between layers.

The resin still has polymerizable groups in the green state that can form linkages between layers and give the portion isotropy and watertightness after final curing. The X, Y, and Z planes are identical at the molecular level. As a result, items that are essential for applications like jigs and fixtures, end-use parts, and functional prototypes have predictable mechanical performance.


Whether manufacturing geometries with solid features or internal channels, SLA printed items are continuous. For technical and manufacturing applications where air or fluid flow needs to be controlled and predictable, this watertightness is crucial. The watertightness of SLA printers is used by engineers and designers to resolve problems with air and fluid flow for automotive applications, medicinal research, and to test part designs for consumer goods like kitchen appliances.

Accuracy and Precision in SLA 3D Printing

Dental and manufacturing sectors rely on SLA 3D printing to repeatedly produce precise, accurate components. A print process needs to precisely manage a number of variables in order to generate accurate and precise pieces.

The heated resin tank and the enclosed build space work together to create nearly similar conditions for every print. Lower printing temperatures in comparison to thermoplastic-based technologies that melt the raw material result in better precision. Because stereolithography uses light instead of heat, the printing process takes place at close to room temperature, and printed parts don’t suffer from thermal expansion and contraction artifacts.

The optics are housed inside a Light Processing Unit (LPU) that moves in the X direction during Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) 3D printing. To deliver a beam that is always perpendicular to the build plane and always moving in a straight line for even greater precision and accuracy, and to allow for uniformity as hardware scales up to larger sizes, like Formlabs’ larger format SLA printer Form 3L, one galvanometer places the laser beam in the Y direction. It is then directed along across a fold mirror and parabolic mirror. A spatial filter is also used by the LPU to produce a clear, precise laser spot for increased precision.

For the print process to be dependable and reproducible, the properties of each unique material must be taken into consideration.

Fine Features and Smooth Surface Finish

SLA printers are regarded as the industry standard for smooth surface finish, producing products that look similar to those made using conventional manufacturing processes like extrusion, injection moulding, and machining.

Since parts can be easily sanded, polished, and painted, this surface quality is perfect for applications that need a faultless finish and helps shorten the time needed for post-processing. Leading businesses like Gillette, for instance, employ SLA 3D printing to make consumer goods like 3D printed razor handles for their Razor Maker platform.

The 3D printed razor handles on Gillette’s Razor Maker platform are made using SLA 3D printing, which is a popular method for producing consumer goods.

A 3D printer’s resolution is frequently determined using the Z-axis layer height. On Formlabs SLA 3D printers, this can be changed between 25 and 300 microns, with a trade-off between speed and quality.

In contrast, Z-axis layers are commonly printed at 100–300 microns on FDM and SLS printers. However, a part printed at 100 microns on a SLA printer versus an FDM or SLS printer has a different appearance. The outermost perimeter walls of SLA prints are straight, and the freshly produced layer has a nicer surface finish immediately out of the printer.

Material Versatility

The advantage of SLA resins is the variety of formulation configurations available: materials can be either soft or hard, densely filled with secondary materials like glass and ceramic, or endowed with mechanical qualities like high heat deflection temperature or impact resistance. Materials can be industry-specific, such as dentures, or closely resemble final materials for prototyping. They can also be made to resist rigorous testing and operate well under pressure.

You can 3D print parts with a stone-like finish using ceramic resin, then heat them to produce a totally ceramic object.

Some businesses decide to start using resin 3D printing internally because of its functionality and adaptability. It typically doesn’t take long to discover more applications for a given functional material after discovering one, and the printer then turns into a tool for utilising the diverse properties of multiple materials.

For instance, to support a wide range of research projects with commercial partners like Boeing, hundreds of engineers in the Design and Prototyping Group at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) rely on open access to a fleet of 12 SLA 3D printers and a selection of engineering materials.

Airbus, BAE Systems, and Rolls-Royce. The team used High Temp Resin to 3D print washers, brackets, and a sensor mounting system that needed to withstand the elevated, and leveraged Durable Resin to create intricate custom springy components for a pick and place robot that automates composites manufacturing.

Because of its fine features, smooth surface finish, ultimate part precision and accuracy, and mechanical qualities like isotropy, watertightness, and material adaptability, SLA 3D printing is preferred by engineers, designers, manufacturers, and many other professionals.

Learn about how Fused Deposition Modelling – FDM 3D printing helps Manufacturers

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