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Stereolithography is a common rapid manufacturing and rapid prototyping technology for producing parts with high accuracy and

good surface finish. A device that performs stereolithography is called an SLA or Stereolithography Apparatus. A stereolithography system. Photo by 3D Systems. [edit] Technology description Stereolithography is an additive fabrication process utilizing a vat of liquid UV-curable photopolymer "resin" and a UV laser to build parts a layer at a time. On each layer, the laser beam traces a part cross-section pattern on the surface of the liquid resin. Exposure to the UV laser light cures, or, solidifies the pattern traced on the resin and adheres it to the layer below. After a pattern has been traced, the SLA's elevator platform descends by a single layer thickness, typically 0.05 mm to 0.15 mm (0.002" to 0.006"). Then, a resin-filled blade sweeps across the part cross section, re-coating it with fresh material. On this new liquid surface the subsequent layer pattern is traced, adhering to the previous layer. A complete 3-D part is formed by this process. After building, parts are cleaned of excess resin by immersion in a chemical bath and then cured in a UV oven. Stereolithography requires the use of support structures to attach the part to the elevator platform and to prevent certain geometry from not only deflecting due to gravity, but to also accurately hold the 2-D cross sections in place such that they resist lateral pressure from the re-coater blade. Supports are generated automatically during the preparation of 3-D CAD models for use on the stereolithography machine, although they may be manipulated manually. Supports must be removed from the finished product manually; this is not true for all rapid prototyping technologies. [edit] History The first working stereolithography system, invented by Chuck Hull. Photo by 3D Systems, circa 1986. The term stereolithography was coined in 1986 by Charles (Chuck) W. Hull[1]. Stereolithography was defined as a method and apparatus for making solid objects by successively printing thin layers of the ultraviolet curable material one on top of the other. Hull described a concentrated beam of ultraviolet light focused onto the surface of a vat filled with liquid photopolymer. The light beam draws the object onto the surface of the liquid layer by layer, causing polymerization or crosslinking to give a solid. Because of the complexity of the process, it must be computercontrolled.[2] The first company aiming to generalize and commercialize the procedure was founded immediately alongside the invention Selective laser sintering is an additive rapid manufacturing technique that uses a high power laser (for example, a carbon dioxide laser) to fuse small particles of plastic, metal, or ceramic powders into a mass representing a desired 3-dimensional object. The laser selectively fuses powdered material by scanning cross-sections generated from a 3-D digital description of the part (for example from a CAD file or scan data) on the surface of a powder bed. After each cross-section is scanned, the powder bed is lowered by one layer thickness, a new layer of material is applied on top, and the process is repeated until the part is completed. Compared to other rapid manufacturing methods, SLS can produce parts from a relatively wide range of commercially available powder materials, including polymers (nylon, also glass-filled or with other fillers, and polystyrene), metals (steel, titanium, alloy mixtures, and composites) and green sand. The physical process can be full melting, partial melting, or liquid-phase sintering. And, depending on the material, up to 100% density can be achieved with material properties comparable to those from conventional manufacturing

methods. In many cases large numbers of parts can be packed within the powder bed, allowing very high productivity. SLS is performed by machines called SLS systems; the most widely known model of which is the Sinterstation SLS system. SLS technology is in wide use around the world due to its ability to easily make very complex geometries directly from digital CAD data. While it began as a way to build prototype parts early in the design cycle, it is increasingly being used in limited run manufacturing to produce end-use parts. One less expected and rapidly growing application of SLS is its use in art. A process similar to SLS was invented by R.F. Housholder who patented the concept in 1979 but did not commercialize it. SLS itself was developed and patented by Dr. Carl Deckard at the University of Texas at Austin in the mid-1980s

The term stereolithography was coined in 1986 by [[Chuck Hull|Charles (Chuck) W. Hull]],<ref>[[U.S. Patent]] 4,575,330 (Apparatus for Production of Three-Dimensional Objects by Stereolithography)</ref> who patented it as a method and apparatus for making solid objects by successively "printing" thin layers of an [[ultraviolet]] curable material one on top of the other. Hull's patent described a concentrated beam of ultraviolet light focused onto the surface of a vat filled with liquid [[photopolymer]]. The light beam draws the object onto the surface of the liquid layer by layer, and using polymerization or cross-linking to create a solid, a complex process which requires automation. In 1986, Hull founded the first company to generalize and commercialize this procedure, [[3D Systems Inc]],<ref>[http://www.3dsystems.com/company/index.asp [[3D Systems Inc]] Company Info]</ref><ref>[http://www.photopolymer.com/stereolithography.htm Stereolithography<!-Bot generated title -->]</ref><ref>[http://production3dprinters.com/sla/stereolithography What is Stereolithography?<!-- Bot generated title -->]</ref> which is the currently based in [[Rock Hill, SC]]. More recently, attempts have been made to construct mathematical models of the stereolithography process and design [[algorithm]]s to determine whether a proposed object may be constructed by the process.<ref>B. Asberg, G. Blanco, P. Bose, J. Garcia-Lopez, M. Overmars, [[Godfried Toussaint|G. Toussaint]], G. Wilfong and B. Zhu, "Feasibility of design in stereolithography," ''Algorithmica'', Special Issue on Computational Geometry in Manufacturing, Vol. 19, No. 1/2, Sept/Oct, 1997, pp. 6183.</ref>

Technology

Stereolithography apparatus

Stereolithography is an additive manufacturing process which employs a vat of liquid ultraviolet curable photopolymer "resin" and an ultraviolet laser to build parts' layers one at a time. For each layer, the laser beam traces a cross-section of the part pattern on the surface of the liquid resin. Exposure to the ultraviolet laser light cures and solidifies the pattern traced on the resin and joins it to the layer below. After the pattern has been traced, the SLA's elevator platform descends by a distance equal to the thickness of a single layer, typically 0.05 mm to 0.15 mm (0.002" to 0.006"). Then, a resin-filled blade sweeps across the cross section of the part, re-coating it with fresh material. On this new liquid surface, the subsequent layer pattern is traced, joining the previous layer. A complete 3-D part is formed by this process. After being built, parts are immersed in a chemical bath in order to be cleaned of excess resin and are subsequently cured in an ultraviolet oven. Stereolithography requires the use of supporting structures which serve to attach the part to the elevator platform, prevent deflection due to gravity and hold the cross sections in place so that they resist lateral pressure from the recoater blade. Supports are generated automatically during the preparation of 3D Computer Aided Design models for use on the stereolithography machine, although they may be manipulated manually. Supports must be removed from the finished product manually, unlike in other, less costly, rapid prototyping technologies.

Advantages and disadvantages


One of the advantages of stereolithography is its speed; functional parts can be manufactured as shortly as within a day. The length of time it takes to produce one particular part depends on the size and complexity of the project and can last from a few hours to more than a day. Most stereolithography machines can produce parts with a maximum size of approximately 505060 cm (20"20"24") and some, such as the Mammoth stereolithography machine (which has a build platform of 2107080 cm),[6] are capable of producing single parts of more than 2 m in length. Prototypes made by stereolithography are strong enough to be machined and can be used as master patterns for injection molding, thermoforming, blow molding, and various metal casting processes. Although stereolithography can produce a wide variety of shapes, it is often expensive; the cost of photo-curable resin ranges from $80 to $210 per liter, and the cost of stereolithography machines ranges from $100,000 to more than $500,000; although recently, renewed public interest in stereolithography has inspired the design of several consumer models with drastically reduced prices.

What is the stereolithography?


Stereolithography is a rapid prototyping process that makes use of the stratification to build a model. The technology uses liquid photopolymer resin that solidifies exposed to a laser beam that traces each section of the CAD model layer by layer to materialize the full part.

Stereolithography technology
We offer service in the following machines: SLA Viper 250: building size 250x250x300 mm SLA 500: building size 500x500x600 mm

Stereolithography materials

Applications of stereolithography

Opaque white resin similar to ABS Special: infiltrated to improve its mechanical properties, both temperature and resistance. Translucent resin.

All industry sectors focused on product development that require: Functional prototypes. Prototypes that respect dimensions. Prototypes of small parts with a high level of detail. Prototypes pleasant to both touch and sight. Prototypes easy to paint, polish and treat. Prototypes with excellent surface finishing, making them ideal as MASTERS for vacuum casting in silicone molds.

Translucent prototypes to appreciate internal interferences. The resins may be more fragile and less flexible than in SLS laser sintering. Prototypes susceptible to both humidity and temperature, except if specified presviously. Thickness below 0.6 mm cannot be guaranteed.

Limitations of stereolithography

Examples of prototypes made with stereolithography