Ruitai Can Also Help You With Short Deadlines By Submitting Your Projects in Less Than A Day!
With our capability and experienced engineers, we can finish your SLA Rapid Prototyping projects in time and prompt fast deliveries.
How can Ruitai be fast than others? Well, we have large sets of CNC machines and staff. They altogether prepare your SLA Rapid Prototyping orders within a matter of days. Plus, our proficient staff members can also help you get through these projects in a better way.
Ruitai’s expertise makes us render you perfect SLA Rapid Prototypes that are not only high-quality but durable too.
Ruitai can also help you use SLA Rapid Prototyping as resin printing to create various patterns and prototypes.
If you want special mechanical properties in your prototypes, Ruitai can use Engineering Resins for you.
We can use dental and medical resins in SLA Rapid Prototyping to give you the best results for biocompatibility products.
Ruitai can help you produce computer parts and various other technological devices using the SLA Rapid Prototyping.
Ruitai – The Best SLA Rapid Prototyping Manufacturer in China
You might have faced plenty of difficulties in finding an excellent manufacturer for your SLA Rapid Prototyping projects. It is tedious to keep working with manufacturers that don’t know how to fulfill your requirements perfectly.
Well, that’s not the case with Ruitai. We also offer free SLA Rapid Prototyping Samples to help you choose the best company. Only if you approve our samples, Ruitai starts working on your project immediately and render the best ever SLA Rapid Prototyping parts.
If you want to keep an eye on your project and the whole process, no problem at all. Ruitai offers you an in-depth insight so you’ll know everything about your SLA Rapid Prototyping project. You can have every update anytime and can also ask for any changes if you want.
Ruitai is always there. We are available 24/7 to provide you with SLA Rapid Prototyping Services. If you want any, contact us right away and let us handle all your needs and requirements!
SLA Rapid Prototyping
Rapid Prototyping and 3D Printing Prototyping are vast fields. They don’t end up with a few methods or techniques. Their vastness is explained by plenty of procedures that are used for manufacturing prototypes.
Stereolithography Rapid Prototyping is one such method too. If you are familiar with the 3D Printing technology, understanding the SLA Rapid Prototyping won’t be a problem at all. Because this method is a type of 3D Printing. More like, it is derived from 3D Printing and works on the same technique.
Now, to know about this method in detail, you would have to follow this FAQ Guide. Here, we have made sure that all of your confusions about SLA Rapid Prototyping are solved and answered. Whether you are looking forward to knowing about the advantages or the uses, we got it all covered for you.
Moreover, this guide will also be very helpful for you if you are looking forward to getting SLA services. So, let’s stick to our topic and get started with your queries!
1. What Are the Other Names of SLA Rapid Prototyping?
The word SLA is basically derived from the Stereolithography process. It’s just a short form to describe this useful form of 3D Printing. There are many other words used for portraying this method too. Other than SLA, sometimes, this process is also referred to as SLS only.
Figure 1 – SLA 3D Printer
Now, these are the most common names for the process. If we move towards some professional or well-known m=names for SLA Rapid prototyping, then they are as,
- SLA Apparatus (Because of utilizing a particular apparatus for the process)
- Resin Printing (Because of the use of resins in the manufacturing)
- Photo-Solidification (Because of the involvement of photo-polymerization)
- Optical Fabrication (Because of the uses in Optical and Medical Field)
2. How is Stereolithography Linked to 3D Printing?
3D Printing is a technique that results in prototypes that are 3D Printed. In this technique, the resin layers are put one by one over each other to produce 3D-printed objects. SLA Rapid Prototyping is also used for similar purposes.
In Stereolithography, the liquid plastic resin is used as a raw material. This material is then converted into solid and sturdy prototypes by crosslinking. As plastic is a polymer, its capabilities are just right to be used in SLA. The intermolecular bonding of polymers makes the plastic turn into prototypes whenever the beam is poured onto it.
Figure 2 – 3D Printing
So, this is how SLA Rapid Prototyping is connected to 3D Printing. You can also say that this process is just another form or a derivative of 3D Printing. It is because it follows almost the same rules and ways to manufacture a prototype as that of 3D Printing. More like, 3D Printing is a vast field that involves plenty of methods and ways to produce prototypes. At the same time, SLA Rapid Prototyping is just a branch of it.
3. How the SLA Rapid Prototyping Came into Being?
This method to produce 3D Printed objects is not new at all. It was first discovered in the 1980s when the photosensitive polymers were cured for the first time using SLA Rapid Prototyping. Later on, people started experimenting with it and manufactured new products every day.
The first-ever purpose of SLA was to help engineers. With this technique, they became able to manufacture prototypes based on their ideas and designs. The SLA Rapid Prototyping also helped them in testing their equipment before actually utilizing it. This ensured the equipment’s safety and strength.
But eventually, this technique became a hit in the automotive industry because of its usefulness. And now, it is in use to manufacture certain car parts and automotive designs along with plenty of other engineering prototypes.
Figure 3 – Prototype Manufactured by SLA Rapid Prototyping
4. What Substances Are Used as Raw Material in SLA Rapid Prototyping?
SLA Rapid Prototyping usually uses a series of liquids, thermoset polymers. You may also call them ‘resins. Different resins are used for different purposes. Which resin or polymer you’ll use depends upon the product you are going to manufacture.
One of the appreciable things about the SLA method is it offers a wide variety of polymers to choose from. But this wide variety does not involve plenty of colors or mixed materials. All it offers are white, transparent, grey, and black colors. But that’s why it is useful in producing covers and other such stuff for different equipment and objects.
Figure 4 – Structure of Thermoset Polymers
This makes it easy to manufacture the prototype exactly as you like or as per your requirements. You can make it as strong as you want. And can also heavily fill it with plenty of layers of your desired resin to make your prototype sturdier and more similar to your CAD model.
All the materials used in this method have different chemical and mechanical properties too. This means you can make your prototypes with the exact properties you want them to have. So, best of luck with manufacturing the best products with the best quality resins using SLA Rapid Prototyping!
5. How is SLA Rapid Prototyping Advantageous in Medicine?
The first use of SLA was in the medical field. That is actually the base from where this technique was formed. That is why you can imagine how many uses it would have in medicine. If we are to name a few, that’s the making of anatomical regions and such similar stuff. It also includes manufacturing plenty of medical models and equipment.
Figure 5 – Anatomical Models
This method offers precision and accuracy while working. This helps in controlling and manufacturing fragile medical products and cellular materials. That is one of the reasons SLA Rapid Prototyping is used for manufacturing delicate products like optics and optical instruments. Thus, this method has been a great source of constant improvement and betterment in medicine.
Innumerable health-care applications have been made to-date using SLA Rapid Prototyping. And many more are being planned to be manufactured in the future.
6. How is the Process of Stereolithography Carried Out?
A CAD/CAM software is needed for this process to work efficiently. Once the model is manufactured, all you need to do is use the 3D Printing resin controlled by the computer to add layers to a prototype. This layering process is continued until a sturdy and reliable prototype is produced.
SLA Printers are used for this entire process. You can easily go through images of every layer being produced. Once the model is manufactured, it is cleaned. After completely removing any extra resin from it, an ultra-violet oven is used for the final curing process.
Figure 6 – Process of Stereolithography
7. Why Should You opt for SLA Rapid Prototyping?
There are many reasons that make SLA Rapid Prototyping preferable over all other techniques. It will probably be a great choice if you are thinking of choosing this process for manufacturing your automotive parts or medical equipment. But of course, you want to be aware of all the advantages that you can get through this method.
Therefore, we have accumulated a few down here. You can go through them and make sure that your decision of selecting SLA is a good one or not.
- Precision and Accuracy
Now, talking about precision, SLA is undoubtedly great at that. The way it adds detailed features to your prototypes, it’s just highly commendable. Either you are looking forward to getting thin and sturdy walls or edgy corners, SLA can provide you that with great easiness.
- Complex Designing
Another appreciable thing about SLA Rapid Prototyping is that it is a very reliable technique with complex designs and features. If your required part has a very complex shape and structure, no problem at all. SLA can manufacture prototypes with the least of 25 micrometers of thickness. Great, right?
- Best Dimensional Tolerances
Considering all the techniques and methods of manufacturing prototypes, SLA is the one with the tightest and best dimensional tolerances. It can go up to 0.127mm in the first inch, and you can add another 2mm with every other inch if needed.
- Smooth Structures
Have you been worrying all this time about getting prototypes with rough outlooks or surfaces? Well, not anymore with SLA Rapid Prototyping. This technique is well-known for its smoothness and reliable design. You will never have to face roughly manufactured prototypes if you select SLA for its production process.
- Large Sized Prototypes
Not all 3D Rapid Printing methods are good with manufacturing reliable large-sized prototypes. But with SLA Rapid Prototyping, you can definitely get any size with great precision. You won’t have to change designs or your sizes just because it can’t be produced because SLA got it all covered!
Figure 7 – Products by SLA Rapid Prototyping
8. Are There Any Drawbacks of Opting SLA Rapid Prototyping?
With every process and possibility, there come some limitations too. The same is the case with SLA Rapid Prototyping. It’s not like something that makes you face huge problems but still, there are some limitations to the process.
You must be aware of these limitations before selecting SLA for your prototypes. This will help you choose the right materials in the right way and while considering all your benefits. There are a few cons of opting for SLA Rapid Prototyping that we have shared below for you. There are as,
- Requires Long Time Durations
SLA is not a super-fast process. As you know that it adds all the intricate details and specifics to your prototype, it requires time for that too. So, if you are looking for fast manufacturing of your prototypes, SLA might not be your best choice.
- Requires Supports
Well, it’s not the case with all the prototypes. But while manufacturing some delicate, steep, and hanging products, you must arrange some support. If you don’t use support structures during the manufacturing process, the parts may get damaged or can even collapse completely.
- Unreliable for Mechanics Work
Though SLA is a great choice for automotive parts, it isn’t really good with producing high functional prototypes. The parts produced by SLA Rapid Prototyping are not really great for heavy mechanical testing too. It is because the resins or raw material used for this process is kind of fragile. Polymers are not very reliable with strength and sturdiness.
- Limited Resins
SLA Rapid Prototyping offers a number of resins. However, still, they are limited to a point as compared to other rapid prototyping methods. Most of the options you get are in black, transparent, white, or similar colors. So, if you are looking to add up colors and transitions in your prototypes, you might look for something else.
- Changing Printers is a Problem
You might be aware of the fact that the polymers you often use are often registered under a specific company or brand. So, in case you need to change the brand of your printers for the process, it might not be possible. Or if somehow, it becomes possible, there are certain things that you’d have to go through first.
- Requires Large Investment
You are aware of the advantages and pros of SLA Rapid Prototyping. They don’t come for free as everything has a price. Because of the ability to produce detailed structures and reliable parts, SLA costs a bit more than other methods. Its rates may not be appropriate for your budget. So, make sure to go through your investment budget properly before choosing the SLA technique.
Figure 8 – Prototypes by SLA
9. How FDM and SLA Rapid Prototyping are Distinct From Each Other?
Both these processes are a form of 3D Printing Prototyping. But they are different from each other in many ways. Both the procedures have their own identities, pros and cons. To help you choose the better one for your project, we have stated a few differences between these methods.
- Different Precision Capacities
SLA Rapid Prototyping depends upon the laser beam, while FDM resolution is more about precise motor working. Because of their different main components, the precision and detailing capacities are different. SLA has a higher rate of precision as compared to the other method because it works through the laser beam and not motors.
- Different Strongness Ratios
The final manufactured prototypes of FDM are stronger and sturdier than those produced through the SLA Rapid Prototyping. Because FDM uses heavy motors for working and its post-process is different too. While in SLA, the object is washed with alcohol and is passed through UV light too. But still, the strengthening ratio remains lower than that of FDM Prototypes.
- Difference of Raw Materials
With FDM, you get a wide range of options because the plastic reels can easily be mixed up with other materials and substances. This allows you to choose from a larger variety as compared to SLA. It is because SLA Rapid Prototyping uses polymers that limit your options.
Figure 9 – FDM 3D Printing
- Different Rates
As stated earlier, FDM uses motors/printers to carry out the process. The raw material used in this process is plastic reels which are comparatively cheaper than the polymers used in SLA. That is why FDM costs less than the process of SLA.
Which Process Should You Choose Then?
To conclude all the details mentioned above, both methods are good and reliable to produce prototypes. Which method is good for you depends upon your requirements, budget, time durations, and deadlines, etc. So, choose accordingly!
10. Which One is Better, SLS or SLA Rapid Prototyping?
The answer would be again the same that which method will be more appropriate to you entirely depends upon your requirements. But we will be presenting here a few points from both methods that will help you decide the better method for yourself.
Figure 10 – An SLS 3D Printer
- Different Procedures
Both the techniques are entirely different as they both have distinct approaches. However, the laser is used in both methods to manufacture the prototypes. In SLS Rapid Prototyping, the laser does not cure the material. It is used to head up the raw material, which is usually a powder. This powder is then converted into a solid material after the particles get fused together because of the heat.
- Durability and Reliability
SLS designs are highly appreciable as they are very sturdy and reliable. Moreover, you don’t need to put any support structures during the SLS process, which makes the process simpler. This also makes you able to produce intricate designs using the SLS technique. The added details can be perfect. However, the precision of SLA Rapid Prototyping still tops the list.
- Cost Differences
The intricate detailing and raw materials of SLS Rapid Prototyping cost a lot more than those of SLA Rapid Prototyping. You can easily buy liquid polymers at a lesser rate than the printers. So, if you are looking for a cheaper and affordable process, SLA is going to be your best shot!
11. How Old is Stereolithography?
If you look at all forms of 3D Rapid Prototyping, SLA is the oldest one. It is hard to believe because of the modern techniques and methods used in this process, but it is true. SLA Rapid Prototyping was discovered before any other method.
Despite its oldness, it is still a very reliable technique for producing sturdy and precise prototypes. Many large industries throughout the world use this method to manufacture precise products.
12. How Does the SLA Rapid Prototyping Machine Operates?
The stereolithography machines are super-expensive but then provide quality services too. They have four parts in total. These all parts work altogether to produce a good, sturdy, and reliable SLA Rapid Prototyping product. If you want to get a closer look at the SLA machines, then they work in the following way,
- The first part used is the tank, in which the whole process is carried out.
- This tank requires filling up with a few gallons of the liquid raw material use in the SLA process.
- A platform with holes in it, i.e., a perforated platform, is placed in the tank that was just filled up with the liquid polymer.
- The most significant component of the machine that is responsible for the whole process is, of course, the ultraviolet laser. This laser is used to set the layers of the liquid substance upon each other. And solidify them into a strong and solid polymer.
- Then this machine also has an installed computer. The whole process of the laser working upon the platform immersed in the liquid is controlled and watched by this computer.
Figure 11 – An SLA Machine
So, how does the laser turn the polymer into a solid prototype? Actually, the laser has an installed ultra-violet light. This light is responsible for the conversion of liquid polymer into a hard one. If you want to look at the ongoing process and kept an account of it thoroughly, you can do that with this machine too.
All you have to do is keep an eye on the SLA apparatus. It can show you the entire process that includes building each layer. This means you can actually see the layer pouring upon the platform and then the hardening of it through the apparatus.
13. What Kind of Prototypes Can You Manufacture by SLA Rapid Prototyping?
SLA Rapid Prototyping has vast coverage. From automobile industries to medical fields, it is used everywhere. There are many products and prototypes that are manufactured by this process. It has different uses in different fields. But if you are looking for the most basic uses and benefits that you can get through SLA Rapid Prototyping, then they can be,
- EVT (Engineering Verification Tests)
SLA Rapid Prototyping is considered a very reliable technique when it comes to performing tests upon engineering prototypes and products. It helps you know if the products meet the required needs or not. What can you do to make it better, and how can you do it? So basically, it’s like a proofing test of prototypes that makes them able to be used afterward.
- To Attach Different Parts
Have you heard about a snap-fit? Well, it is used to manufacture a final result by assembling various parts altogether. This process is also done by SLA Rapid Prototyping in many cases. Snap-fits are used because they render speedy working and sturdy parts. SLA is the method that is utilized for this snap-fit process.
- For Investment Casting
Investment casting has become a very popular method recently. The disposable molds made up of ceramic in this process uses SLA Rapid Prototyping for the process. SLA is a significant technique in this method of melting the wax patterns to create a casting.
Figure 12 – Process of Investment Casting
- Covers for Different objects
As SLA Rapid Prototyping is good wither making transparent products. It is highly appreciable to manufacture the covers of plenty of devices and equipment. Moreover, it also comes in handy in the manufacturing of optical devices and solutions.
- Manufacturing of Jigs & Fixtures
Jigs & fixtures are utilized almost in each and every mechanical work and production. These tools are also manufactured by this super useful process, SLA Rapid Prototyping. All types of jigs, fixtures, and other rapid tooling items & molds require SLA for production.
So, you can say that it is not a technique bound to a few industries or fields. It is used in almost every other field for different purposes. Moreover, it not only produces reliable and durable products but also helps people with their tooling production and similar stuff.
Figure 13 – 3D Printed Jigs & Fixtures
14. How Much SLA Rapid Prototyping Usually Costs?
The methods, ways, and materials involved in the stereolithography process make it a costly technique. Affording this process is not easy for everyone. If you need to make an estimate about the requirement of investment and money for SLA, you can get it by discussing your product details with a reliable company.
The machine used in this process is no less than $250 grand. Now, as you know, the machines are not the only things you need to buy or own for the process. There are a number of polymers and resins that will be required for the process as raw materials. These materials are not cheap as well. The polymers and plastic liquids used are super-expensive which cannot be bought by every other common person.
Figure 14 – A Part Produced by SLA
For an estimate, there’s a substance most commonly used for SLA. You might know this resin by the name of CibaTool SL5170. Now, this substance’s rate goes up to $800 just for a gallon. If you calculate the polymer resin getting wasted or washed out, you’ll know how much of the substance is required. That means $800 for a gallon is not a typical traditional rate. It’s a lot more than that.
That is why small-scale businesses are not based upon SLA productions. If you are looking for SLA services, you must look into large-scale companies or industries. They can make it easier for you to get the products manufactured through SLA Rapid Prototyping at lesser rates.
As they will be large companies, don’t expect very cheap services from them. But, if we consider the rates of doing it all by yourself and these companies, it will cost you a lot less. Usually, these services are priced at $30/hour and go up to $100/hour or more. Now, finding the company that provides you these services is as less amount as possible and it all easier for you, is your responsibility.
We are sure that if you look harder, you will definitely find better!