Developed in the early 1980’s, stereolithography (SLA) was one of the first 3D printing technologies to hit the market. For years it was seen as “the” 3D printing technology. The additive world has shifted significantly since then. More technologies, like FDM, PolyJet, and DLP, have been developed and proven to create reliable parts for a variety of applications. With so many additive options available, why is SLA still essential?
Big Parts & Production Quantities
The SLA market is mature and competitive, which drives resin prices down, making an affordable cost-per-part. But why else do so many people choose SLA?
With SLA, you can print big parts. At a build volume of 31.5 x 31.5 x 23.6 inches, the Stratasys Neo800 is considered to be the standard size of a large stereolithography printer. With its expansive build volume, you won’t be required to section and bond parts together. It is the only resin technology that can print large parts. It functions similar to FDM, using a single toolpath, in this case a UV laser, to cure resin. If you’re looking to print large resin parts, SLA is the ideal technology.
A large resin vat also allows for many small, single-material parts. Its high resolution allows for small part features and impressive sidewalls. This is why many Service Bureaus run SLA machines. If your company is printing a lot of parts, the Neo Series is unmatched for repeatability and reliability.
Although SLA machines can only print in a single material at a time, compatible stereolithography resins have a wide range of capabilities. Why? The open vat architecture and laser curing means that the resin is not under any printhead constraints. As the Neo Series uses open-source materials, users can leverage all commercially available 355nm SL resins. Here are some of the materials that our team at Purple is most excited about:
Somos PerFORM creates strong, stiff, temperature resistant composite parts. This enables applications such as mold inserts for short run injection molding or composite layup tools. With the lowest viscosity of any composite stereolithography material, parts made with Somos PerFORM have superior sidewall quality and detail resolution.
Somos WaterShed AF
Somos WaterShed AF creates dimensionally stable investment casting patterns. The material “burns out” easily, leaving minimal amounts of ash residue behind, creating an extremely clean mold. This characteristic allows for less mold prep and lower rates of rework, saving users time and money.
To learn about your other SLA material options, check out our material page.
Why Stratasys Stereolithography?
It’s no secret that the SLA install base is aging, and most existing systems use close-sourced materials. With the acquisition of RPS in early 2021, Stratasys added a competitive stereolithography option to its arsenal of polymer technologies. With open-source materials, accurate lasers, and the best service organization in the world, the Neo Series is set to be the new standard for stereolithography.
Our team is incredibly excited at the value the Neo Series is bringing to the market. To learn if it’s the right fit for your needs, email our team at [email protected] or stop by our Irvine Tech Center.
Meet Gabe Suppes
Meet Senior Sales Engineer, Gabriel Suppes. Gabe assists our customers in adopting the latest technology from Stratasys, Onulis, DyeMansion, ProtoMAX, Materialise, and Synopsys. He has been selling capital equipment for over 10 years, including CNC milling and turning machining, giving him a broad understanding of both additive and subtractive applications. What Gabe enjoys most about working at Purple is learning about new ideas and concepts every day. “We have some of the most innovative customers in the world here in SoCal and I enjoy learning about their technologies while understanding how 3D printing can fit into their product cycle.”
Out of the office, Gabe enjoys reading, hiking, downhill skiing, mountaineering, trying new restaurants, and travelling. If you haven’t had the chance to meet Gabe, make sure to stop by the office or connect with him on LinkedIn!