Stereolithography (SLA) (StereoLithography Apparatus) is the oldest rapid prototyping technology, but it’s still widely used thanks to its ability to obtain fine detailed parts and excellent surface finish.
Using a specialized software we place the parts on the platform and we study the supports necessary for the construction of the piece.
Inside the machine we find an ultraviolet laser, a tank filled with the resin to be solidified and a doctor blade necessary to remove excess resin.
The laser beam solidifies the resin tracing/building the first layer of the part, then the platform to which the piece in construction is secured lowers and excess resin is removed by the blade, the process can now continue with a new section to be solidified and it’s going to be repeated until the part is finished, layer upon layer.
Finally, the supporting structures required to prevent the part from collapsing during the production process are removed and the part is baked in a UV oven to make sure that the resin is completely solidified.
The materials used are UV-sensitive epoxy resins; in general, they don’t have significant mechanical
Other materials are available such as ceramic-reinforced materials (NanoTool, BlueStone, CeraMax, etc.): they can withstand temperatures close to 300°C, but they are as well extremely rigid.
Zare Prototyping will help you in choosing the best SLA material for your prototype.
Stereolithogrphy SLA is an excellent choice where an extremely high level of detail is desired, and also for coupling tests, dimensional verification, ergonomic studies. Furthermore, it creates almost perfectly transparent prototypes.
When using ceramic-reinforced materials it is also suitable for wind tunnel aerodynamics tests.