3D Printing

SLS printing vs. Stereolithography | 3D ACTIVATION

SLS printing vs. Stereolithography

What is the difference between selective laser sintering and stereolithography?

The 3D printing process developed by the American Chuck Hull in 1983 stereolithographyalso known by the name SLA 3D printing, can rightly be called the “mother of all 3D printing processes” because this 3D printing process was developed before all others. Chuck Hull patented his invention in 1984 under the name “additive manufacturing”, a term that is now understood much more broadly.

Stereolithography is based on a liquid photopolymer, a so-called resin, in this case epoxy. Specifically, the resins used here are extractive substances from dehydrated natural resins, which are obtained through a chemical conversion process. This special plastic, which is present in a filled tank in the SLA 3D printer, has the special property of solidifying after a certain exposure time, on which the entire stereolithography is ultimately based. The individual layers of the 3D print object to be created are now gradually projected onto the surface of the liquid material using a laser, with the underlying movable print bed being pulled down layer by layer. As soon as the stereolithography 3D printing process is complete, the hardened 3D printed object is taken out of the bath and usually post-exposed in a special exposure chamber until it is completely hardened.

The stereolithography process, roughly outlined

The stereolithography technology, roughly sketched

Selective laser sintering: powder instead of liquid

The Selective laser sinteringalso under the designation SLS 3D printing common, is based on a starting material in powder form, usually a polyamide (PA) plastic. During the SLS 3D printing process, this fine powder is selectively melted with the help of a laser beam, whereby the laser beam precisely follows the outlines constructed in the 3D file and thereby selectively melts the material into an unbreakable 3D printing model. The powder that is not required in each case is extracted during the SLS 3D printing process and used again in the next work step.

Sketch SLS Print

A clear presentation of selective laser sintering

A particular advantage of selective laser sintering is that it enables particularly filigree components to be produced. Stereolithography, on the other hand, is currently considered the most accurate Rapid prototyping-Proceedings. SLA 3D printing also enables components of the highest complexity. With wall thicknesses of just 0.1mm and levels of detail of up to 0.25mm, the SLS 3D printing technology is impressive. In contrast to stereolithography, SLS 3D printing also does not require support structures, since powder remaining after the 3D printing process can be easily blown or shaken out.

Typical areas of application for stereolithography are the production of complex components as design samples or the creation of initial forms for vacuum casting or spin casting. Selective laser sintering is particularly suitable for moving components, such as small series, injection molds or prototypes in the fields of art/design or prosthesis construction.

Stereolithography Model RosettaPA model 3D printingWhether stereolithography, selective laser sintering or another 3D printing process (such as polyjet printing), 3D Activation will always help you to realize your 3D printing vision. Simply visit our website and get an overview of our materials and 3D printing processes.

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