Stereolithography (SLA) is the heart of ProtoCAM’s rapid prototyping service. The technique can be used to create a final prototype or part, or a master pattern for RTV urethane molding, blow molding, and various metal casting processes.
SLA is one of the more versatile rapid prototyping technologies and turns out prototypes in as little as 1 to 2 days, with larger projects typically completed in less than five.
Presentation and Performance
When finishing options and aesthetics are important, SLA is almost always the best choice. Finishes range from inexpensive natural parts to fully smoothed and painted showpieces. SLA is also the best option for clear parts. Using proprietary post-processing techniques, ProtoCAM engineers can even create bottle prototypes with a near-glass-like appearance. ProtoCAM has a number of SLA machines that use a variety of photosensitive epoxy polymer resins that can be dyed or painted in virtually any color. Accura 25 is a white polypropylene-like resin designed for flexibility and snap fits. Accura 60 is a tough general-purpose resin that can make translucent parts.
ProtoCAM’s largest machine has a build envelope of 25.6” x 29.5” x 21.65”; however, multiple SLA prototypes can be glued together to create larger prototypes. In standard resolution, the smallest feature that can be produced is 0.010″ in the X-Y plane and 0.016″ in the Z axis. In high resolution, the 0.003″ laser beam spot enables smaller features. ProtoCAM recommends a minimum wall thickness of 0.020″ for prototype support. Published tolerances of the models are +/-0.005″ (0.127mm) for the initial inch, plus an additional 0.002″ for each additional inch.
The accuracy and surface finish of SLA are miles ahead of many other additive manufacturing technologies, such as selective laser sintering (SLS), and can be drilled, tapped, milled or put on a lathe for machining. A typical order of prototypes is shipped out two days after receipt of order and most parts build in less than 12 hours.
Stereolithography is …
Quick: ProtoCAM can fabricate your SLA prototype in less than two days
Cost effective: ProtoCAM prices SLA projects competitively
Test-ready: Epoxy resin is resilient enough to be used for testing
Good for tight tolerances
Suited to small lot manufacturing