11 Aug 2022

Backgrounder: Introduction to Stereolithography (SLA) 3D Printing

Low Force Stereolithography 3D Printing

A comprehensive guide from 3D Systems explains how SLA printing technologies work, why thousands of professionals use this process today, and the benefits that resin 3D printers can bring.

Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing, or resin 3D printing, has become vastly popular for its ability to produce high-accuracy, isotropic, and watertight prototypes and parts in a range of advanced materials with fine features and smooth surface finish.

Advancements in 3D printing continue to change the way businesses approach prototyping and production. As the technology becomes more accessible and affordable and hardware and materials advance to match market opportunities and demands, designers, engineers, and beyond are integrating 3D printing into workflows across development cycles.

Stereolithography 3D printing in particular has undergone significant changes. Traditionally, resin 3D printers have been monolithic and cost-prohibitive, requiring skilled technicians and costly service contracts. Today, small format desktop printers produce industrial-quality output, at substantially more affordable price points and with unmatched versatility.

SLA 3D printers use light-reactive thermoset materials called resins. When these are exposed to certain wavelengths of light, short molecular chains join together, polymerizing monomers and oligomers into solidified rigid or flexible geometries.

Low Force Stereolithography 3D Printing

Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) technology is the next phase in SLA 3D printing, meeting demands for scalable, reliable, industrial-quality 3D printing.

This advanced form of SLA 3D printing drastically reduces the forces exerted on parts during the print process, using a flexible tank and linear illumination to deliver improved surface quality and print accuracy. Lower print forces allow for light-touch support structures that tear away with ease, and the process opens up a wide range of possibilities for future development of advanced, production-ready materials.

Download the White Paper Guide to Stereolithography (SLA) 3D Printing

Watch how stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing works

Company info: 3D Systems