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Stereolithography (SLA)

Stereolithography (SLS) is a vat photopolymerization technique for additive manufacturing (AM) that creates 3D objects by selectively exposing liquid polymer resin to ultraviolet (UV) light. When the resin’s photoreactive molecules are illuminated by UV light, they link together and become solid in a process known as photopolymerization. 

A 3D printer device capable of stereolithography is called a “stereolithography apparatus” or SLA. The abbreviation “SLA” is used interchangeably to refer to both the AM technique and the apparatus. Unlike most other AM techniques that use a heat source to solidify materials into 3D objects, SLA uses only a UV light source. 

Stereolithography is commonly used by manufacturers for relatively quick and inexpensive prototyping. The exact characteristics of the final 3D object depend on the photopolymer used. However, most prototypes and parts made with stereolithography are strong enough to be machined and can also be used to make master patterns casts for other manufacturing processes.

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