Although SLA 3D printing (stereolithography) is one of the oldest additive manufacturing technologies, it is still frequently used today because of its dependability and versatility. The process involves building an object layer by layer using a highly precise UV laser to solidify photosensitive resin. This creates an accurate part with a good surface finish that can be further improved through post-processing techniques.
Despite its popularity, stereolithography can be more complex than people anticipate. To achieve successful results, support structures are necessary to keep the parts in place during printing, which are then removed afterward. Additionally, there are other crucial steps to ensure accurate prints:
Plan your design well.
Designing your part for SLA 3D printing and ensuring the tolerances suit the process. Use a reliable CAD program to make your 3D model, and save your file in a format that works with the printer. Here are some effective and simple tips to help with your design:
- Add supports for any overhang that exceeds a 45-degree angle.
- Build a continuous, single surface. Ensure no objects are separated or floating from your main model, so you can reduce the need for support.
- Is the model hollow? If it is, separate the base to make it heavier so the model doesn’t tip over.
- Split the model’s STL file if it’s too big for the printer to avoid print failure and related costs.
Choose the right materials.
Whether prototyping or making an end-use part, picking suitable materials will increase your likelihood of success with SLA 3D printing. Resin can be polylactic acid (PLA) or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). However, technological advancements and a growing 3D printing market have introduced more materials you can consider, such as carbon fiber, graphite, and metal. Refer to your design’s requirements and your part’s application to pick a suitable material.
Ask for help from 3D printing experts.
Avoid the guesswork with SLA 3D printing by consulting our seasoned professionals here at HLH Proto. We can even review your project and provide a quote at no cost. We’ll work with you to provide design tips, help with materials selection, and resolve other issues to ensure a successful project.