Why SLA Technology Delivers the Highest-Quality 3D Prints
12 May 2018 | Team EACPDS
The technology behind most resin 3D prints is referred to as stereolithography (SLA). The additive manufacturing technology converts liquid materials into solid parts by curing each layer with a light source in a process called vat photopolymerization. The light source is usually a UV laser or projector that cures the liquid resin into hardened plastic. SLA printing is considered to be one of the most widely used techniques in producing high-quality 3D prints such as models, prototypes, and production parts.
Why choose a desktop SLA printer?
The closed build environment and heated resin tank provides consistent conditions and better accuracy for each print. SLA creates parts with a smooth surface finish as soon as it’s done printing which is ideal for applications that require a flawless finish. It helps reduce finishing time as well since the parts can be easily sanded, polished, and painted. The smallest detail is much finer on SLA printers due to the 140 micron laser spot size on the Form 2 compared to 350 microns on industrial SLS printers and 250-800 microns on FDM machines.
In-house 3D printing can reduce costs by 50-90% when factoring in consumables, maintenance, labor, and depreciation of the machine. There is a turnaround time of hours instead of days or weeks with outsourced production. Desktop SLA 3D printers allow for accurate prototypes, rapid iterations, and earlier discovery of errors which all lead to better final results.
Formlabs – ‘Form 2’ Desktop SLA 3D printer
The Form 2 delivers high-resolution SLA prints that are significantly smoother and more detailed than other plastic 3D printing technologies. It enables you to print precise models with a smooth surface finish and helps save time and money during the design and manufacturing process.
Automated Resin Refill
Level sensing ensures your tank is automatically filled during printing. No more pausing for manual refills.
Resin Cartridge Recognition
The Form 2 automatically recognizes the resin type, configures settings, and allows you to keep track of resin supplies from your Dashboard.
Experiment with non-standard applications such as embedding objects in prints, creating lithopanes, and etching PCBs. It enables support with 3rd party resins.
Form 2 – SLA materials for different industries
Every industry has specific needs and applications for 3D printing. The stereolithography materials selection for desktop SLA 3D printers are built to address these varying needs of design and engineering groups.
Standard resins are ideal for rapid prototyping, product development, and general modeling applications. The resin provides high resolution, fine features, and a smooth surface finish and doesn’t require post-curing. The resins are available in greyscale, clear, white, and a color kit.
Engineering resins are used to create functional parts for anything from assemblies to injection molds and have tough, durable, flexible, and temperature-resistant characteristics. They are used to simulate a range of injection-molded plastics to help designers and engineers conceptualize, prototype, and test final products.
Dental materials have specific applications that include orthodontic models, splints, retainers, diagnostic, biocompatible surgical guides, and educational models. These resins allow dental labs and practices to create a range of dental products in-house based on a patient’s intraoral scan or CBCT scan.
Jewelry prototypes can be made with SLA technology to create a fitting ring or try on piece. Castable resin is designed for direct investment casting to allow jewelers and casting houses to view the 3D print in-house or to create custom jewelry cost effectively.