Stereolithography Apparatus, generally called as SLA, is a commercial process of rapid prototyping. The process is still used today to have better accuracy and finish on a material’s surface than some other rapid prototyping processes available.
The Stereolithography Apparatus - SLA technique was actually developed on 3D Systems in 1986. SLA helps to convert a 3D CAD drawing into an object made of solid matter. Most Stereolithography Apparatuses can really be used as master patterns for cavity inserts, blow molding, thermoforming, injection molding core, and various metal casting processes. Rapid prototyping exploits an SLA Pattern, which is generally generated through a CAD file. SLA is just another type of pattern used in place of a wax pattern for the lost wax process.
SLA prototyping is used in rapid prototyping where they use a 3D printing process which makes it a complete term SLA rapid prototyping and is typically used in the early stage of the product development process as concept or models and masters.
It actually helps in producing good quality parts with a smoother surface finish, excellent optical clarity, and high accuracy and straight, thin, and vertical walls. The wide range of materials which are commonly used to make different parts allows for a range of property resilience and tolerance.
When to Use Stereolithography
SLA is ideal for less or single run manufacturing of prototype parts for presentation models, concept models, or tooling masters that are required in a short period of time and at a reasonable price. As per the exact requirement of the clients, the manufacturers are able to make parts overnight for next day delivery.
Following are some of the tasks which can easily be done by SLA machines.
· Master patterns
· Presentation models
· Investment castings
· Concept models
In the entire production cycle including product design and development, SLA rapid prototyping is highly important in order to help manufacturers to quickly send products to market.
A small number of prototype parts can be produced easily and quickly at a reasonable cost.
Speed: SLA is one of the most preferred prototyping processes by design engineers and product designers simply because it allows them to get their designs off the drawing sheet and put on to the table in no time. SLA models can be produced overnight, however, depending on specifications mentioned in the agreed requirement sheet.
Parts can be produced to match the exact, specific, and special requirements.
A broad range of part properties:
· Moisture resistant
· High level of feature complexity
· Clear, white or translucent; color finishing available
· High-temperature resistance
· A range of model sizes
· Excellent surface finish
· Flexible polyurethane casting resin grades range
· Lathing and drilling options
There are several industrialists who have adopted the SLA rapid prototyping technology as it helps them to complete their projects on time and reach an optimal level of client satisfaction.