What is SLA 3D Printing?
SLA stands for stereolithography (SL), a 3D printing technology that has been in use for four decades in various forms of development.
It is also known as rapid prototyping, optical fabrication, and resin printing.
The accessibility of SLA has increased like FDM and SLS to all types of businesses and individuals due to its affordability.
It is preferred for creating prototypes and models as it produces clean, crisp forms with layering.
It is an additive manufacturing (AM) printing technique.
How does SLA 3D Printing works?
- Initially, a tank of liquefied photopolymer resin is set up for resin to react with light. The resin is heated at a specific, consistent temperature ideal for curing.
- Inside the tank, is a build platform that starts at its top. In most printers, this platform is coated with resin material by a blade.
- An ultraviolet (UV) laser, guided by computer-aided software and a file uploaded for the specific object to be built, is directed into the surface of the tank using two actuated mirrors known as galvanometers.
- The liquefied photosensitive polymer resins are cured by the laser as it “draws” one layer at a time.
- The platform is lowered incrementally a distance. Sometimes supports are used.
- Supports are printed simultaneously to the main prototype and attached to the build platform.
- After printing, the 3D printed object is removed from the bed and immersed in a chemical solution that removes excess resin. Later, it is placed in an ultraviolet curing oven.
- In this approach, the laser is directed at the bottom of the clear tank, and the first layer is written/printed onto the bottom of the platform.
- The cured resin sticks to the build platform as it is raised out of the tank, and each successive layer is printed to form the whole.
What are the advantages of SLA 3D printing?
SLA produces crisp, highly detailed results with a professional appearance due to the advanced performance of galvanometers.
Manufacturing is done in days that would otherwise take weeks.
SLA bond chemically to produce stronger models, objects and prototypes
The objects produced are waterproof and can be used to produce water-tight pieces
- Material Available:
A variety of resins can be used to manufacture to create objects with the physical properties of hardness, density, and flexibility that are desired for each project
What are the disadvantages of SLA 3D Printing?
The advanced technology of stereolithography makes SLA 3D printers very expensive.
- Material and maintenance costs:
Materials and maintenance of the printers are also costlier than for other types of 3D printers.
It is expected that prices will come down as more manufacturers get into the business of producing stereolithographic 3D printers in response to demand from large and small businesses and personal users.
What are the applications of SLA 3D Printing?
- Rapid Tooling:
Rapid Tooling (RT) is a tactic of blending Rapid Prototyping techniques along conventional tooling methods to provide a mold quickly or parts of a functional model.
- Dental 3D Printing:
Accurate 3D models of anatomical parts such as bone structures and organs are created with this technology.
They can also be customized for individual patients using the data gained from testing such as an MRI or three-dimensional CT scan.
Medical and dental models aid in planning for operative procedures and in the manufacturing of implants and prosthetics.
While SLA 3D printing is not a cost-effective means of mass production, it is an inexpensive way to create one or a few customized products that are unique. For example, designs are used in branding, logo creation, publicity, and custom gift
10 Best SLA 3D Printing services: -
- This is one of the best budget resin 3D printers you will ever find in the market in terms of quality and price.
- SparkMaker printer offers high-resolution prints.
- This SLA printer is also equipped with an LED status lightto monitor the printing progress.
- It stands out as it allows offline 3D printing. You don’t need a computer connection, just insert an SD card preloaded with your design and press the print button.
- Technology: SLA
- Assembly: Fully-assembled
- Its Build volume: 98 x 55 x 125 mm
- Build area: 4 x 2.2 x 5 inches
- Layer height: 20 – 100 Microns
- Build rate: 5-15 s / layer
- Bed Level: Manual
- Connectivity: SD
- Dimension: 170 x 170 x 275 mm
- Weight: 4.4 pounds
- Affordable desktop resin
- Compact and quiet
- Allow use of non-proprietary resins
- Simple mechanics, east to use
- Has dedicated slicer software
- Buggy software
- Unreliable prints
- Small build volume
Formlabs Form 2
- This is one of the most popular SLA 3D printersin the market.
- This started as a campaignand grew into a million-dollar business.
- One of the best things is its simple user interface even for beginners.
- It has an automated resin system.
- It includes a user-friendly touch screenand WiFi connectivity.
- A variety of resin is available for this 3D printer including standard, castable, flexible, dental, and tough.
- Formslabs Form 2 delivers high-quality outputs with an incredibly good resolution.
- Technology: SLA
- Build Volume: 145x145x175 mm
- Laser Spot Size: 140 microns
- Layer Height: 25-100 microns
- Min Layer Thickness: 063 mils
- Connectivity: LAN, USB, Wi-Fi
- Dimension: 13.8x13x20.5 in
- Weight: 28.66 lb
- Compact and sleek
- Large print capacity
- User-friendly interface
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- Responsive customer support
- Simple but powerful software
- Wide variety of materials available
- Small build volume
- Printing speed is inferior compared to others
- Peopoly Moai SLA 3D printeris cheap and competitive in terms of performance.
- This has to be assembled from a DIY printing kit.
- Peopoly Moai SLA has a simple and open design that sets it apart.
- Laser exposure settings can be adjusted according to the results expected.
- It prints with great resolution and speed even for complex designs.
- Technology: SLA
- Build Volume: 13 x 13 x 18 cm
- Laser wave length: 405nm
- Laser power: 150 mw
- Laser spot size: 70 micron
- Dimension: 25 x 25 x 63 cm
- Weight: 15 kg
- Processor: ST 32bit ARM processor
- Print file format: Accepts Gcode
- Software: Cura 2.6
- Cheap resin SLA 3D printer
- impressive resolution and printing speed
- Helpful and responsive customer service
- Delivers professional 3D printing results
- Works well with bigger and complex structure
- Affordable 3D printing cost (resin, consumables)
- Supports a variety of resins
- Need to be assembled
- Setting it up is a hassle
- Print trays require frequent replacement
- Print preparation requires experience and tweaking
- This 3D printer is developed by Chinese manufacturers, Anycubic.
- uses an LCD screen to photopolymerize the resin and offers a resolution of 2560 x 1440 px.
- Considerate features
- Full-color LCD screen
- A proprietary software known as Photon Slicer.
- A carbon filtration system.
- Best suited for home useas well as for placing it on the office desks.
- Its build volume is of 115 x 65 x 155 mm.
- Matrix UV Lighting:
An upgraded UV module technology that helps the printer to achieve high precision with a resolution of 2560x1440.
It ensures uniform distribution of energy across the models while being printed using this amazing device.
- Dual Z-Axis:
Creates a smoother surface finish and enhances the stability of the Z-axis and further improving the details of the designs.
- Easy Levelling:
The device uses a creative structure to ease the entire process of leveling and making it easier for users to set up the printer.
The Nobel 1.0
It is developed by XYZprinting and is well known for manufacturing the best 3D printers.
- Its build volume of 128 x 128 x 200 mm.
- To operate the printer, one must load the STL files using the USB cable or the USB key.
- Automatic filling resin Tank:
Ensures an uninterrupted print. The resin tank makes sure that the users have an optimum amount of resin before they start every print.
- Monitoring system:
It helps to know the actual amount of resin left in the tank.
6. Prusa SL1
- It is an open-source machine.
- Its build volume is 120 x 68 x 150 mm.
- Prusa SL1 uses an LCD screen to cure the resin.
- Its resin tank has a transparent and flexible FEP film.
- 5″ 2K LCD screen:
The machine exhibits an LCD screen that helps cure the resin for achieving an XY axis resolution of 47 microns.
This helps in creating detailed prints with high complexity.
- Removable Resin Tank:
The resin tank isn’t unusual for an SLA 3D printer.
However, there is a difference that the company has tried to create by covering the tank with a flexible transparent FEP film.
This makes the removal of parts after printing easy and simple.
- The company also offers great slicing software known as PrusaSlicer.
- Accessible and very easy to operate.
7. Slash Pro
- Uniz, a Californian company released Slash Pro packed with many astonishing features.
- It has a decent build volume of 192 x 120 x 400 mm.
- High Speed:
Its speed is 200 mm per hour.
- Accuracy and Precision:
It is very fast and highly accurate. It maintains a rhythm between its speed and accuracy without compromising precision.
- Improved z-axis:
To enhance the stability of the machine, Uniz has doubled the Z-axis.
- Better performance.
8. Shuffle XL
Phrozen company offers a completely assembled device that can be used right after connecting it with the power socket. It uses LCD technology for curing resins precisely.
- Great Precision:
Shuffle XL uses a 5.5" LCD mask coupled with a resolution of 16000 x 2560 (2K). Hence, you can create detailed prints achieving a precision of 75 micrometers.
- Enhanced Stability:
utilizes Z-axis with dual linear rails. This ultra-stable Z-axis ensures the highest level of stability for the designs.
Wonderful designs can be created without complicacy.
- High Speed:
Utilizes parallel light sources for increased print speed.
- Easy to Operate:
The printer has a 3.5” touch panel. This can be used for changing the settings of the print as well as for monitoring the progress. It Can be connected using the USB slot, Wi-fi, or QR Code connection from a computer.
Inkspire is the development of Zortax. The printer works on LCD technology and is known for producing high-resolution prints. It is used by hobbyists as well as professionals because of its various benefits and affordability. a minimum resolution of 25 microns can be achieved.
- UV LCD Technology:
This technology makes printing 8 times faster as well as 9 times more accurate when compared with other SLA 3D printers.
- Highly Precise:
50 x 50 microns pixel size with the XY axis and 25 microns minimal layer height with z-axis is achievable. Helpful in creating detailed models with the best surface quality.
- WIFI Connection:
The printer provides WIFI connectivity for remote access alongside the support for a USB port.
- Constant Speed:
With a constant speed of operation, it appears to be the most scalable solution for companies engaged in small scale manufacturing.
10. XFAB 2000
DWS Systems is one of the most specialized SLA manufacturing companies from Italy. The company has manufactured many variants of SLA 3D printers and this one is released for the creation of jewelry.
- Its build area is of 180 × 180 × 180 mm.
- It also features its patented BluEdge laser.
- printer consists of a 180mm diameter cylindrical printing tray providing 10 to 100 microns of layer thickness for high precision.
- Its capability to print with a range of 12 materials makes this choice a highly popular one.
- TTT (Tank Translation Technology) that the printer utilizes helps to maintain the health of the tank. It distributes wear evenly while avoiding any localized laser damage.
- DWS’s Patented SLA Technology:
By inducing the company’s patented laser SLA technology, the device lets users print using around 12 materials. Either you wish to print with acrylate resin or ABS or polypropylene rigid rubber for castable wax or even ceramics.
- High Resolution:
The printer has a BlueEdge® BE-1300X laser which is capable of producing print layers of up to 10 microns. This helps in creating high-resolution parts. This also ensures accuracy and can be used for applications that require high precision.
- Auto Calibration:
This device is a plug and plays machine which is easy to operate and does not require calibration. Providing beginners with ease and simplicity of operating an SLA 3D printer.
- Smart Heating System:
The 3D printer features an automatic heating system. This ensures the temperature is evenly maintained for the resin and various materials used inside the 3D printer.