Stereolithography: Explanation

Axis explains in a few words the technology Stereolithography

Axis uses the stereolithography process: the reference technology for the production of prototypes!

Stereolithography is a method of manufacturing prototypes by additive manufacturing. The principle of this technology is to photopolymerize the resin in liquid form in successive layers of 0.10 to 0.15 mm to obtain a solid from a 3D file or a digitized model.

The different steps of this manufacturing process are explained in more detail below.

Several resins are possible. Here is a sampling to allow you to distinguish differences (color, opacity, …).

  1. Resin type ABS is a material simulating the mechanical characteristics of a thermoplastic ABS. -> Resin GP Plus or Evolve or Xtreme
  2. The PP type resin is similar to the mechanical characteristics of a thermoplastic PP. Its surface is smooth and of a very good resolution. It is the resin suitable for the realization of master models for vacuum casting. -> Resin Next or Acura 25 or Xtreme
  3. The resin type PA is a rigid material simulating the characteristics of a thermoplastic PA. It is a technical material combining rigidity and flexibility. -> Taurus resin
  4. PC type resin is a rigid material that simulates the mechanical properties of a thermoplastic PC. Like the thermoplastic PC, it is transparent. It is the resin adapted for the realization of translucent and transparent part. In this case, it is necessary to go through the sanding and varnishing steps. -> Clearvue Resin
  5. Composite Resin is charged. In our company the resin is loaded with ceramic. -> Perform / HPC Resin

 How it works?

 To be able to obtain a part via Stereolithography technology, several steps are necessary:

- Preparation:

  • Firstly it is essential to have a 3D file obtained through 3D design software in .STEP or .STL format.
  • This file is then processed and cut by us into thin slices (depending on the layer thickness possible). The manufacturing supports are generated and associated with the part. These supports serve as a scaffold for manufacturing.

- Construction :

  • This information is transmitted to the production machine. This Stereolithography machine is composed of a pilot computer, a resin tank in the liquid state, a platform, a mirror and a laser. The construction of the piece begins with the platform flush with the resin while being immersed.
  • The laser starts, the mirror directs this beam according to the trajectory calculated by the pilot computer to trace the contours of the room.
  • In contact with the laser, the photo-polymer liquid resin is cured.
  • The platform descends according to the layer thickness and immerses the hardened layers.
  • A mechanical arm comes at the same time scrape the tank resin to level the level of the resin and deposit liquid resin on the parts where it lacks. This step makes it possible to have regular and flat layers.
  • The different stages follow one another: the laser taps on the resin, the platform goes down, the scraper smooths the resin, etc., …
  • Once all the successive layers have been produced, the platform rises to the surface of the resin tray.

- Finishing:

  • The piece is disconnected (peeled off the platform)
  • It is cleaned, freed of liquid resin and then exposed to UV to harden it further.
  • Our modelers sand and sand it manually, then apply the finish (s) you want (varnish, primer, paint, installation of inserts, transfer, metallization, …).

 Explanation in video