First introduced in 1988, the stereolithography (SLA) used a laser beam to solidify thelayer of resin. In the process, the designs created on a CAD system is converted into.STL format. In this .STL format, the object is sliced into two-dimensional cross-sectionwith a slice thickness ranging from 0.0015Ó to 0.005Ó.The work area is spread with a thin layer of photopolymer in which each cross-sectional layer of the model is formed using a laser beam to solidify the layer of resin, infigure 1. As each layer solidifies, an elevator platform lowers the work piece to allowanother layer of resin to be applied. A wiper smoothes the layer to a proper thickness andthe next layer is drawn, adhering to the previous layer. The process is repeated until the part is completed. Each layer is not fully cured by laser, but instead with a thin wall and ahoneycomb internal structure which trap the uncured resin. The top and bottom surfacesof the part are fully cured by repeated passes made by the laser in a pattern of overlapping lines called skin-fill. Approximately 96 % of the part are solidified before the post-curing process. Final curing is achieved by placing the part in the curing oven,which floods the part with UV light to complete polymer solidification process.
This system is fully automated that is doesnÕt require any attentionduring the operation.
The SLA able to produce a very high accuracy
SLA is capable of producing an intricate design with high precision.
The Òprinted partÓ has a very smooth surface.
SLA was the first RP to be introduced into the market. It constituted71% of the worldwide market based on sales.
This process requires post-curing to complete the solidification process. Some area of the parts did not solidify during the laser beaming process.
The part may melt if exposed to high temperature for a period of time.