A Short Look At The Stereolithography Process And Its Advantages

December 29, 2013

Stereolithography is probably one of the methods that are utilised for the creation of 3D-printed objects. It may also be known as 3D layering or printing, solid imaging, photo-solidification and solid free-form fabrication. This process has made it eminently possible for a specially designed 3D printing machine to convert molten plastic into solid objects. As a result of this, prototypes can be created at a very fast rate.

Over the years, it's become the most generally used methodology for rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing. With the utilisation of this method, 3-dimensional parts and solid 3-dimensional objects can be made simply and with high precision from CAD models. The end products customarily have a high quality of surface finish and the work is done within a few hours. The machine that's employed for this process is known as a Stereolithography Equipment (SLA).

With the usage of specialised software, a 3D file of the sample model is split up into a sequence of layers. At this point, it's critical to add support structures. This is mostly done automatically. Once the conversion to the STL format is accomplished, the file is then sent to the SLA machine for printing.

The 1st cross section is traced out by the SLA machine on a VAT of UV treatable liquid resin with the utilization of a UV laser beam. The resin cures once it is exposed to the laser. After the completion of the first layer, the platform is reduced and a fresh resin layer is applied to the surface. The laser then traces out the next layer and cures the resin so it bonds to the layer below. This is repeated till the prototype model is completely built.

Stereolithography is preferred as it provides plenty of benefits. It is faster than conventional methods of making models. One of the directly apparent benefits is the saving of time. Once the 3D CAD information has been received, prototype models are customarily produced within one or two days.

It helps to reduce the cost of production. Big money will be wasted if product design issues are identified in the tooling stage. The usage of SLA models has made it possible to confirm designs early in order to reduce the frequency of errors. The SLA machine also facilitates the feat of tight tolerances for producing accurate and complicated components.

The prototypes created with this process are tough and functional. There are has been lots of developments in the range of materials that can be employed. That is the reason why tougher and more functional components can be produced. Additionally, the designs can get to the market at a quicker rate because the high quality of the surface finish decreases the secondary operations that are needed.

Since the introduction of stereolithography more than twenty years back, it has been through different changes. It has helped move Additive Fabrication technology much nearer to the level of Fast Manufacturing. Nowadays , tougher materials are appearing on the scene and it is verily likely that a greater number of corporations will embrace this technology.

IMIRP Desktop Manufacturing specialise in stereolithography for all U.K. organisations. Click right now for additional info.

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