- Very fine resolution
- Parts can be solid or hollow
- Tight tolerances
- Slow build times
- Can be expensive for complex models
How it works
Stereolithography (SLA) was the first additive manufacturing technology, being invented in the 1980s. SLA printing uses a laser to trace out slices of a 3D liquid photopolymer resin curing the light activated resin in specific areas first to a build plate then to subsequent layers. Once a build is complete, the excess resin is washed off using a light solvent and then is post-cured with heat or UV light, or both.
- Because SLA only uses one material, support removal often leaves behind small dimples and pimples.
- Because the point of the laser is very fine, SLA printers produce parts with a very smooth surface finish with fine details.
- The photopolymer resins vary between manufacturers with a range between prototyping, engineering, and TPU materials.