Stereolithography (SLA)

Stereolithography (brief: SLA) is a kind of additive manufacturing technology utilizing very high-end laser technology to cure layer-upon-layer of photopolymer resin. The polymer changes its properties when exposed to light.

Laser Curing a Liquid Polymer Resin

The build of objects occurs in a pool of resin. A laser beam, directed into the pool of resin, traces the cross-section pattern of the model for that particular layer and cures it. During the build cycle, the platform on which the build is repositioned is lowering by a single layer thickness.

The process repeats until the build or model is completed and fascinating to watch. Specialized material may be needed to add support to some model features.

Models can be machined after printing and be used as patterns for injection moulding, thermoforming or other casting processes.

Transparent Appearance, No Optical Power

It is widely spread that, like any other ‘conventional’ 3D printing process, SLA, unfortunately, is unable to create parts with optical quality. Although most transparent in appearance, the inside haze values and amount of surface treatments needed after the process is finished (if possible at all) avoid smooth optical surfaces straight from the printer.

Despite this digital manufacturing process might get closest to the additive optics fabrication process, the optical properties (including e.g. haze and Abbe Values) are unfortunately not meeting the requirements for functional optics. Hence, it might be a low-cost alternative for 3D printed optics and greatly complementary with the Luximprint process.

As such, we advise SLA technology to be used to perform form or fit testing or to create add-ons or mounting features for optical assemblies.