Stereolithography

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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.

SLA 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. 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 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 learn more about Accura.

Available Somos varieties:

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

Get an instant quote or learn more about Somos.

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?

The Basics of SLA

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.

​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.

Benefits of Working With Xometry For Stereolithography

Xometry's 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.

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

3D Printing is Not a Cheat Code

3D Printing is Not a Cheat Code

Get expert insight on understanding 3D Printing from our own Director of Applications Engineering, Greg Paulsen. Learn how to make the most of this additive manufacturing capability with his expert tips.

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