How to Design an SLA Prototype

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How to Design an SLA Prototype

Stereolithography, or SLA, emerged in the mid-1980s and established itself as a staple of additive manufacturing (AM) over the next decade. Since that time, SL’s ability to quickly and accurately create complex prototypes has helped transform the design world like never before.

As with other AM processes like selective laser sintering (SLS) and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), SLA relies on lasers to do the heavy lifting. Parts are built by curing paper-thin layers of liquid thermoset resin, using an ultraviolet (UV) laser that draws on the surface of a resin turning it from a liquid into a solid layer. As each layer is completed, fresh, uncured resin is swept over the preceding layer and the process repeated until the part is finished. A post-build process is required on SLA parts, which undergo a UV-curing cycle to fully solidify the outer surface of the part and any additional surface finish requirements.

Polypropylene: a pliable, durable resin that mimics hard polypropylene. It can withstand harsh mechanical handling and is ideal for fine details – sharp corners, thin walls, small holes, etc.

Polypropylene/ABS blend: a strong white plastic, similar to CNC machined polypropylene/ABS blends. It is suitable for snap fits, assembly and demanding applications.

ABS: variants of the ABS analogue include a clear, low-viscosity resin that can be finished transparent; an opaque black plastic that blocks almost all visible light, even thin parts; a clear, colourless, water-resistant plastic suitable for lenses and flow visualisation models; and a green, micro-resolution resin capable of producing parts with extremely fine features and tight tolerances.

Polycarbonate: a ceramic-filled PC material that offers strength, stiffness and temperature resistance, but is fragile.

SLA rmor: a nickel-plated material that gives SLA-generated parts much of the strength and toughness associated with die-cast aluminium.

SLA technology plays an important role in the design process by enabling the rapid production of prototype parts with complex shapes and details. As an advanced manufacturing method, 3D printing technology offers many opportunities for a wide range of industries that can benefit from this technology, from rapid prototyping to custom part production.

Please note the term “thermoplastic-like.” This is an important distinction in that the mechanical properties of SLA materials only mimic those of their molded counterpart. If you need to pound on your prototype with a sledgehammer, or leave it in the sun for a few months, be aware that SLA parts do not provide the same strength and durability as parts that are sintered, cast, machined, or molded. This makes SLA the logical choice for prototype parts where validation of form and fit—but not necessarily function—is the most important factor.Whether you need prototype verification, custom parts or small production runs, we can provide fast and reliable 3D printing solutions based on your design and specifications. Customer service engineers at XY-GLOBAL can help guide you during material and manufacturing process selection if help is needed. Provide you with expert guidance on materials and manufacturing processes to ensure the final 3D printed part meets your expectations.

At XY-GLOBAL, we have advanced 3D printing equipment and a dedicated team to manufacture high quality 3D printed parts according to our customers’ needs. The SLA technology we use ensures precise details and smooth surfaces are printed to meet our customers’ requirements for quality and precision.

 SLA plays an important role in the design process. It bridges the gap between digital models and machined or injection moulded parts, enabling prototype designs to be touched and felt in a matter of days. In the long run, costly mistakes can be avoided, development costs reduced and better products built.

Whether you need prototype verification, custom parts or small production runs, we can provide fast and reliable 3D printing solutions based on your design and specifications.

For more information about our services and capabilities, please visit our website at XY-GLOBAL.COM We look forward to working with you to provide quality 3D printed parts solutions for your projects.