High-Quality
Stereolithography Parts

Parts in 1 to 2 days.

Stereolithography (SLA) is used for:

Quality Matters  |  AS9100D Certified, ISO 9001:2015, ISO 13485:2016, & ITAR Registered

Certifications and Registrations

* Not all locations have all certifications and registrations. Parts requiring these will be made at facilities with the correct certifications and registrations.

What is Stereolithogrpahy - Collage of Stereolithography printer SLA
Table of Contents

What is Stereolithography?

Stereolithography (SLA) is a type of 3D printing technology that uses photopolymerization to create solid objects. The process involves using an ultraviolet-sensitive liquid resin that polymerizes into a solid material when exposed to a UV laser. The laser selectively cures the part, layer by layer, to create the desired shape.

After the object is formed, it is post-processed with additional UV and thermal treatments to improve its strength and durability. The resulting parts are highly accurate and have a smooth surface finish.

Stereolithography is a quick and accurate process commonly used to create form and fit prototypes, master patterns, and large concept models. Its high speed and design flexibility enable rapid iteration during new product development. Additionally, stereolithography printers allow for creating complex geometries that would be difficult or impossible to achieve with traditional manufacturing techniques.

How does Stereolithography work?

Our AM Technicians upload your CAD file into the SLA printer, and the software breaks it down layer by layer. The AM Technicians consider the part’s orientation and the supports’ placement when they set up the part. The Stereolithography printer uses an ultraviolet laser to draw each layer of the part onto the surface of the liquid thermoset resin. After each laser pass, the build platform moves down, and a bar moves across the surface, recoating the platform. This step repeats until the build is complete.

Once finished, the AM Technician removes the platform from the stereolithography printer, and the parts are manually removed and cleaned using solvents. From there, parts get cured using a UV cycle to solidify the outer surface of the component. Then, the components go to the finishing department.

AM Technology_Stereolithography printer SLA

Advantages to Stereolithography

Stereolithography technology has revolutionized the way products are designed and manufactured. The following are a few of the advantages of stereolithography:

Disadvantages to Stereolithography

While there are a lot of advantages to stereolithography, there are also some disadvantages to consider:

Stereolithography at Prototek

OEM:

3D Systems, Stratasys

Max Build Area:

31 x 31 x 23 in

Lead Time:

1 – 2 Days

Material:

3D Systems Accura®: 25, 60, ClearVue, ABS Black, AMX Rigid Black, AMX Tough FR V0 Black, SL 5530, Xtreme, Xtreme White 200

DSM Somos®: BioClear, EvoLVe, PerFORM, Taurus, WaterClear Ultra 10122, WaterShed Black, WaterShed XC 11222

Tolerances:

± 0.005 in for the first inch and ± 0.0015 in for each additional inch

Layer Thickness:

The normal resolution layer thickness is 0.004 in, and the minimum feature size is 0.012 in.

The high-resolution layer thickness is 0.002 in, and the minimum feature size is 0.006 in (feature size depends on geometry).

Prototek's Materials

Material

Description

Characteristics

More Information

It is an easy and fast-to-process plastic that simulates the properties and aesthetics of polypropylene with high flexibility, durability, and accuracy.

  • White
  • Flexible
  • Good For Snap Fits
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • Low Viscosity

It is a top-quality, high-performance clear/translucent plastic for SLA that boasts unique properties, making it the perfect material for producing solid and rigid parts with the appearance of molded polycarbonate.

  • Clear/Translucent
  • Rigid
  • High Strength
  • High Detail/High Resolution

It is an advanced material with unparalleled clarity, making it ideal for applications requiring visual aesthetics. 

  • Clear/Translucent
  • Biocompatible*
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • High Strength
  • Moisture Resistant

It is a multi-purpose stereolithography material offering a balanced property profile with good flexibility, shock absorption, and the possibility to print tiny structures with a high level of detail.

  • Black
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • Rigid
  • Impact Resistant

It is an advanced SLA photopolymer resin designed for additive manufacturing applications. Its unique formulation provides superior mechanical properties, making it an ideal material for producing high-performance parts. 

  • Black
  • Biocompatible*
  • Good For Snap Fits
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • High Strength
  • Moisture Resistant
  • Rigid
  • UV Stable 

It is particularly noteworthy for being the industry’s first flame-retardant stereolithography material, making it an ideal choice for applications where fire safety is paramount. Moreover, the material boasts exceptional toughness and durability, making it suitable for producing high-quality parts that withstand demanding conditions. 

  • Black
  • Flame Retardant
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • High Strength

The stereolithography material is photosensitive, strong, and stable, making it ideal for functional pieces that require durability. It has a transparent color, which makes post-processing and finishing easier.

  • Translucent Amber
  • Chemical Resistant
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • High Strength
  • Moisture Resistant
  • Rigid
  • Temperature Resistant

It is a high-performance, rigid photopolymer material with excellent mechanical properties, superior toughness, and impact resistance due to its unique blend of acrylate monomers and oligomers.

  • Grey
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • Good for Snap Fits
  • Impact Resistant
  • Moisture Resistant
  • Rigid
  • Temperature Resistant

It is a strong and rigid SLA material known for its high accuracy and ability to capture intricate details, making it ideal for creating models, prototypes, and end-use parts. 

  • White
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • Good for Snap Fits
  • Impact Resistant 
  • Low Viscosity
  • Moisture Resistant
  • Rigid

The stereolithography material is a highly advanced engineered resin that produces precise, functional prototypes and parts. It is a clear and colorless material capable of producing parts with exceptional clarity, smooth surface finish, and high fidelity.

  • Clear/Translucent
  • Biocompatible*
  • Chemical Resistant
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • High Strength
  • Moisture Resistant

It offers higher stiffness and strength than other SLA materials currently available. It exhibits exceptional moisture resistance, making it an ideal material for parts exposed to humid or wet environments. 

  • Off-White
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • High Strength
  • Good for Snap Fits
  • Low Viscosity

It is a top-performing composite material perfect for applications requiring high strength, durability, and precision, such as aerospace or medical industries. The material is composed of a unique blend of liquid resins and composite particles, offering a combination of stiffness and toughness, enabling it to withstand high-stress environments.

  • Off-White
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • High Strength
  • Rigid
  • Temperature Resistant

It is a thermoplastic resin known for its exceptional strength and durability, making it a popular choice for applications that require high performance, such as automotive, aerospace, and medical. 

  • Dark Grey
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • High Strength
  • Impact Resistant
  • Temperature Resistant

It is a durable, clear/translucent SLA photopolymer that can produce high-quality parts with excellent accuracy and detail. The material is designed for functional prototyping, creating models, and having finished products with complex geometries. 

  • Clear/Translucent
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • Low Viscosity
  • Moisture Resistant
  • Rigid
  • Temperature Resistant

This high-performance stereolithography resin has been carefully formulated to provide exceptional thermal stability, durability, and strength, making it an ideal choice for producing solid and stable parts for various applications. With its advanced properties, this resin can withstand extreme temperatures and harsh environmental conditions while maintaining its structural integrity. 

  • Black
  • Chemical Resistant
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • Moisture Resistant
  • Rigid

It is a durable and high-performance photopolymer resin that combines mechanical strength, toughness, and dimensional stability, making it ideal for applications that require accurate and complex geometries.

  • Clear/Translucent
  • High Detail/High Resolution
  • Low Viscosity
  • Rigid
  • Water Resistant

*Special processing may be required. Please notify us of any biocompatibility needs.

Design Recommendations

Stereolithography, called SLA, is an additive manufacturing technology that offers exceptional design accuracy and provides detailed and smooth parts. With SLA, designers need to consider several important factors when designing parts that can ensure the success of their project. One of the most crucial factors when working with this technology is the support structures required for stability and prosperous production. Additionally, part orientation is critical to your final product’s strength and quality. Another significant aspect to consider is creating designs with high resolution and intricate details, which can help maximize the smoothness of your SLA printed model. Finally, it’s essential to choose suitable materials based on the desired properties of your final product, which can contribute significantly to the overall success of your project.

Prototek's Additive Design Poster
Feature Measurement

Connecting & Moving Parts

0.03 in

Escape Holes

0.04 in

Embossing & Engraving

Width: 0.016 in
Height/Depth: 0.016 in

Holes & Openings

0.02 in

Horizontal Spans

0.08 in

Minimum Features

0.008 in

Pin Diameter

0.03 in

Supports & Overhangs

Base Supports Otherwise 45°

Walls (Supported)

0.02 in

Walls (Unsupported)

0.04 in
Feature Measurement

Connecting & Moving Parts

0.7 mm

Escape Holes

1 mm

Embossing & Engraving

Width: 0.4 mm
Height/Depth: 0.4 mm

Holes & Openings

0.5 mm

Horizontal Spans

2 mm

Minimum Features

0.2 mm

Pin Diameter

0.7 mm

Supports & Overhangs

Base Support Otherwise 45°

Walls (Supported)

0.5 mm

Walls (Unsupported)

1 mm

Stereolithography Finishes

After the printing process, 3D objects undergo post-processing to achieve a polished and professional look. The first step in post-processing involves removing excess resin from the object’s surface, which is done using a cleaning fluid or rinse tank. This step ensures the stereolithography printed object is clean and smooth before moving on to the next stage.

 

Next, the object is placed under a UV lamp or in a UV oven for UV curing. This process is essential to create strong, durable finished products that won’t break or warp over time. UV curing hardens all the uncured resin on the object, making it more robust.

 

After UV curing, support structures on the SLA printed object can be sanded away. In some cases, structures were necessary during printing to prevent deformations. Thus, this step creates a clean look without affecting the model’s strength or structure.

 

Once the sanding is complete, various finishing techniques can be used to enhance the appearance and durability of the 3D prints. For instance, painting allows adding color to the prints, while clear-coating protects them from scratches and other forms of wear and tear. Plating, on the other hand, adds a thin layer of metal to the surface of the prints, giving them a shiny and metallic look.

Stereolithography - Accura® ClearVue - from an SLA Printer
Why choose Prototek for your next stereolithography project?

Prototek is the perfect choice for stereolithography due to its vast experience in rapid prototyping and advanced technology for creating accurate stereolithography printed models and functional parts. The company adheres to strict ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D quality management standards, ensuring reliable models for the aerospace, medical, and automotive industries. Prototek’s experienced team also guides the design and prototyping process to ensure accuracy, function, and aesthetic appeal. Trust Prototek for high-quality Stereolithography services that turn ideas into reality with precision.

What do our customers say about us?
I had an emergency order this past month and they quoted it within budget and we received it earlier than anyone else quoted.
Industrial Industry
We are extremely happy with the quality of the parts as well as the level of service - thanks!
VP Product Designer