Stereolithography (SLA) 3D Printing Service

High-resolution prototypes in as fast as 1 day using Stereolithography 3D Printing technology

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Stereolithography (SLA) is a powerful 3D printing technology that produces extremely accurate and high resolution parts that are capable of being used directly in end-use, low-volume production, or for rapid prototyping.

Stereolithography is an additive manufacturing process that focuses an ultraviolet (UV) light on a vat of photopolymer resin. It offers higher resolution printing than many other 3D printing technologies, allowing customers to print parts with fine details and surface finishes. Stereolithography 3D printing is a highly-versatile platform for making custom parts in prototype and production settings, often acting as a stand-in for injection molded plastic parts.

Xometry offers both standard and high-resolution options for fine detail parts, and can also print larger sized parts and products, with some materials offering up to a 58" inch build area. In addition, Xometry's manufacturing partner network allows us to offer a larger variety of materials than other 3D printing companies - we offer a wide range of both Accura and Somos brand materials.

Advantages of SLA

Material Selection

Offers a vast material selection with a range of properties, as well as the ability to print multiple materials and simulate overmolds.

Complex Geometry

Creates complex shapes with a high degree of precision that would otherwise be impossible to build via traditional manufacturing processes.

Rapid Turnaround

Because SLA can create complex and multi-material parts in a single operation, significantly less build time is needed vs. traditional manufacturing.

Precision

We use the latest generation of SLA technologies to meet tolerances of +/- 0.004” or +/- 0.001” per inch, whichever is greater, and offer both normal and high resolution prints. Please see our Manufacturing Standards for more details.

SLA Materials

Available Accura varieties:

  • Accura 25
  • Accura 48HTR
  • Accura 60
  • Accura ABS
  • Accura Bluestone
  • Accura ClearVue
  • Accura Xtreme

Get an instant quote or check out more information about our Accura materials.

Available Somos varieties:

  • Somos NeXt
  • Somos ProtoGen 18420
  • Somos ProtoTherm 12120
  • Somos Taurus
  • Somos WaterClear Ultra 10122
  • Somos Watershed XC 11122

Get an instant quote or check out more information about our Somos materials.

SLA Finishes

Strip and Ship

SLA parts are cleaned, UV post cured, and stripped of supports. Supported areas may show small grid-like dots or surface blemishes as a result of support removal.

Natural

SLA parts are cleaned, UV post cured, and stripped of supports. Supported surfaces will be lightly sanded with 220 or 320 grit sandpaper for improved surface quality. Sanding scratches will be visible on supported surfaces.

Matte

SLA parts are cleaned, UV post cured, and stripped of supports. Supported surfaces will be lightly sanded with 220 or 320 grit sandpaper, then media blasted for a uniform matte finish.

Additional Finishes

Xometry provides additional SLA finishing options, including but not limited to sanding, polishing, painting, post thermal processing, and plating to meet your needs. For examples of our additional finishes, please refer to the SLA section of our photo gallery.

Applications for SLA

Concept Models

The speed and versatility of SLA lets product developers create physical snapshots of their designs through the iterative process.

Rapid Prototyping

SLA can be used to create fully-functional prototypes, with materials that can simulate polypropylene, polycarbonate, ABS, and rigid composites.

Direct Digital Manufacturing

The high accuracy and consistency of SLA makes it an ideal way to build large quantities of discrete or customized parts.

Overview: What is SLA?

What is Stereolithography?

Stereolithography (also known as SLA or SL for short) is one of the earliest additive manufacturing processes. First patented in the 1980's, it is still a common choice among engineers because of the high accuracy and consistency it can achieve. SLA parts are created from a wide variety of thermoset polymers, the most popular of which are the Accura and Somos brands.

An Overview of Stereolithography

Stereolithography (SLA) is a pioneering additive manufacturing technique used to produce high-resolution net shapes for direct end use. It is ideal for low volume production settings and rapid prototyping; reducing costly design cycles during product research and development.

This technique is the earliest recognized form of 3D printing. It was developed in the early 1980s by Hideo Kodama, a researcher at Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute, who fabricated three-dimensional polymeric structures using thermoset plastics. These were selectively hardened with an ultraviolet (UV) light using either a photomask or a scanning fiber. However, the term stereolithography was not officially used until the mid-1980s when the first patent for the technology was filed.

Commercial stereolithography utilized the same principles developed by Kodama. A photopolymer resin contained in a vat is exposed to a UV laser, which selectively and sequentially hardens layers of the material into the desired net-shape. Computer-aided design (CAD) software commands the positioning of the laser to ensure the beam traces the desired cross-section pattern with the utmost accuracy.

​How Stereolithography Works

Stereolithography is an additive manufacturing process that focuses an ultraviolet (UV) light on a vat of plastic (photopolymer) resin. Through a process known as photopolymerization, chains of molecules are linked together when exposed to the UV light, hardening them into solid resin layer by layer. The UV light continues this process through the entire vat of resin, selectively curing and solidifying the resin to match the design of the CAD file. Structural supports are created during the pre-build setup process and manually removed after the print is completed. The parts are then washed in a solvent solution to remove uncured resin, and then receive a final post cure in a UV light oven.

SLA offers higher resolution printing than many other 3D printing technologies, allowing customers to print parts with fine details and surface finishes. SLA 3D printing is a highly-versatile platform for making custom parts in prototype and production settings, often acting as a stand-in for injection molded parts.

Applications of Stereolithography

With a broad range of suitable materials and a rapid turnaround for even complex net-shapes, stereolithography is an ideal tool for a broad range of manufacturing sectors. It is primarily used in auto-engineering, as it enables the cost-effective generation of intricate parts with various surface finishes and fine detailing. Parts can be embossed or engraved, with matte, natural, and myriad other finishes available depending on the manufacturing requirements. While its primary success has been in rapid prototyping and design assistance for the automotive sector, stereolithography is rapidly being adopted at scale in various mechanical modeling sectors.

The Benefits of Working With Xometry for Stereolithography

Xometry specializes in additive manufacturing for a versatile range of changing markets. We have been supporting customers with stereolithography services for over a year now, with instant quote based on your unique 3D CAD designs. If you would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Our manufacturing partner network allows us to offer a larger variety of materials than other 3D printing companies — including a wide range of both Accura and Somos brand materials. Xometry offers both standard and high-resolution options for fine detail parts, and can also print larger sized parts and products — with some materials supporting up to a 58" inch build area.

Xometry's Stereolithography Manufacturing Specifications

Build Envelope:

  • High Resolution: 10” x 10” x 10” (254 x 254 x 254 mm) = .002” layers
  • Standard Resolution: 29” x 25” x 21” (736 x 635 x 533 mm) = .004” layers

Standard layer thickness:

  • High Resolution= .002” (0.05mm) thick layers
  • Standard Resolution= .004” (0.1mm) thick layers

Minimum recommended feature size:

  • .002” layers = .020”(.5mm)
  • .004” layers = .020”(.5mm)

Tolerance:

  • +/- 0.005” for the first inch is typical, plus +/- 0.002” for every inch thereafter.
  • Guaranteed tolerances may be possible with a manual quote review, and must be approved on a case-by-case basis.

Industries that use SLA

The medical, dental, aerospace, automotive, robotics, and defense industries all take advantage of the design freedom and high level of precision that SLA can achieve. This process is especially excellent for prototypes and iterations requiring a high level of repeatability.

Featured SLA Resources

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