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Stereolithography 3D Printing

At Fluxaxis we provide SLA 3D printing (stereolithography printing). We've recently used SLA to make transparent components for a large-scale bespoke lighting installation in Leeds.

SLA 3D printing is a technique of additive manufacturing that is characterised by a resin pool and curing laser. The benefits of this technique are, the smooth finish it leaves on the product, the wide variety of colours that can be used and the fact that the parts produced can be used for investment casting with no other work or coating necessary.

Upside-down SLA printers work by suspending a pool of resin with a laser underneath and the build bed just in contact with the upper surface of the resin. The laser then cures the pattern of the desired product into the resin pool and due to its contact with the build bed, the solid material produced attaches to the bed. The bed is then lifted and the resin pool refilled, before starting the process. Through this procedure, a product can be made in layers and pulled up out of the resin.

Right side up SLA printers work in a very similar way to their inverted counterparts. The biggest difference is that the build bed is submerged within the resin pool and lowered through the resin pool as the material above it is cured. A sweeper is introduced to the resin pool to coat the part with resin equally and keep the resin spread and level.

The benefits of right side up printing are that you can take advantage of the large build sizes and create objects up to a massive 2 metres long, and the process is one of the most accurate additive manufacturing methods available. However, these machines have very high setup and maintenance costs and are very sensitive to being level.

The benefits of upside down printing are that the volume of the resin tank is no longer a limiting factor on build volume, and therefore means that the machine can be run with less maintenance and can easily have materials swapped, allowing SLA printers to be usable on a desktop size. However, inverted SLA has issues with the forces exerted on the model when it is removed from the resin pool. This limits the possible height of the build volume.

Contact us to find out more about the range of 3D printing technologies we have on offer at Fluxaxis.