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Introduction to Stereolithography

Stereolithography (SLA) is a rapid prototyping technology that involves adding material to digital files to produce parts. The materials used are light-sensitive liquid resins that solidify using ultra-violet (UV) light.

The successive 0.10 to 0.15 mm layers thus created will reproduce the shape of your part, with a quality almost equivalent to plastic injection molding. Stereolithography-printed parts require post-processing. It must first be cleaned with a solvent to remove unpolymerized resin residue, and then placed in an oven to complete polymerization and maximize material strength.

Axis is equipped with several SLA 3D printers to meet growing customer demand.

The printing dimensions of our largest machine enable us to print parts up to 1500 x 750 x 550mm.

Machine Neo800, technologie de stéréolithographie

The benefits of 3D printing technology

Stereolithography is a technology that provides an excellent finish (almost equivalent to plastic injection) to create display or decorative parts very quickly (design prototypes). Shapes can be complex and materials can be opaque or transparent.

This makes it an ideal technology for:

ALS materials and finishes

At Axis, we use the following materials:

Want to know more about stereolithography? You can consult our
material sheets.

Lead times and part design advice

For the dimensions of your parts, we are able to comply with standard NFT 58-000 normal class.

The stereolithography process takes 2 to 5 working days, depending on the size and finish of your project. For mini series (up to a few hundred pieces, please contact us for lead times).

For the design of your parts, plan for a minimum wall thickness of 0.8mm.

Stereolithography in pictures

Our production facilities

How does it work?

To obtain a part using Stereolithography technology, several steps are necessary:

  • Preparation :
    • First of all, it’s essential to have a 3D file obtained using 3D design software (CAD).
    • This file is then processed by our cutting software (depending on the possible layer thickness) to prepare each layer. Manufacturing supports are generated and associated with the part. These supports serve as scaffolding for the manufacturing process.
  • Construction :
    • This information is transmitted to the production machine. This stereolithography machine consists of a control computer, a tank of liquid resin, a platform, a mirror and a laser. Part construction begins with the platform flush with the resin while submerged.
    • The laser is switched on, and the mirror directs the beam according to the trajectory calculated by the control computer to trace the contours of the part.
    • On contact with the laser, the liquid photo-polymer resin is cured.
    • The platform descends according to layer thickness and immerses hardened layers.
    • At the same time, a mechanical arm scrapes the resin from the tank to even out the resin level and deposit liquid resin in areas where it is lacking. This step ensures even, flat layers.
    • The various stages then follow one another: the laser hits the resin, the platform descends, the scraper smoothes the resin, etc…
    • Once all the successive layers have been produced, the platform rises to the surface of the resin tank.
  • Finish :
    • The part is lifted off the platform;
    • It is then cleaned, stripped of liquid resin and exposed to UV light for further hardening;
    • Our model-makers sand it by hand, then apply the finish(s) you desire (varnish, primer, paint, inserts, transfer, metallization, etc.).

To find out more about our other additive manufacturing production resources, please visit our our machines page.

Need a quote or information on rapid prototyping?

Ask us for a quick quote or call us on +33 (0)5 55 06 17 17