What is SLA 3D Printer? Everything You Need to Know About SLA 3D Printers

Along with the popularity of 3D printers, light-curing 3D printers are gradually showing up in everyone's view. The resin printer we often talk about is based on the principle of light curing. Together with FDM printers, it has become the most popular desktop 3D printer at present. Depending on the light source, photosensitive resin 3D printers can be classified as SLA and DLP type digital photoreceptor printers. In this article we will introduce in detail what is SLA printer and how does SLA printer work, if you are interested, please follow us.


Principle of SLA Technology: What is SLA 3D Printing?

SLA technology is chosen to irradiate photosensitive resin with a laser. The laser head scans each layer of the model section once from point to line, depending on the G-code of the model section, and then irradiates the photosensitive resin with the laser for rapid curing. DLP technology is used for projectors. When the projector cures the model section as a flat image on the resin solution, one surface is formed at a time and the printing time depends only on the layer height of the printed object.

SLA printing can engrave the model very delicately. But obviously, the layer-by-layer projection of DLP printing is much faster than the movement of the laser beam. Which one is better? Today, the most mainstream one is actually MSLA, Masked stereo lithography (MSLA) is an improved form of SLA 3D printing. It is developed based on SLA and DLP technologies and combines the advantages of both. This technology became very popular when it emerged and MSLA printer is also what we usually call the LCD-based SLA printer. This printer uses an LCD screen to control the light, by selective masking, it also allows for fast layer-by-layer printing and retains a very high level of accuracy.


How Does SLA Printer Work?

The squeegee on the photosensitive resin 3D printer smoothes the liquid resin according to the drive of the track. This is because the file was previously layered on the computer so that the layers were of the same thickness. The selective liquid polymer is the photosensitive resin, and the 3D printing software controls the resin from liquid to solid when the UV laser touches the surface of the material. The laser dots are printed in a position that hardens the parts that are in contact and keeps the parts that are not in contact in a liquid state.


The laser illuminates the squeegee and repeats these two steps over and over again. Each time a layer is printed, the z-axis is lifted up and then a new layer is printed. These steps will be repeated until the model is implemented. After the light-curing 3D printer finishes the printing process, the whole thing will be palletized out of the resin tank. The rest of the liquid material remains in the resin tank and can be used for other printing. We recommends to manually remove supports and other treatments (grinding stones, painted surfaces, etc.) if the model needs to be sanded.


Conventional SLA 3D printers require a controlled laser beam to cure the resin, and the time to print each layer is different. The improved LCD-based SLA printers use a larger UV light source, masked with an LCD screen, to cure the resin layer by layer, based on slices of the digital model. After being covered part of the UV light contact with the resin, the liquid is cured, usually taking 3-5 seconds per layer to print, then the Z-axis moves and the screen controls light source to print next layer until entire model is built.

Printing Quality of SLA Printer

Items printed with light-cured 3D printers have a smooth surface and good molding quality, so many DLP models are gem-quality. While SLA printing is known for its exquisiteness, which can greatly portray the details that digital models have. The right slicing settings, coupled with a good SLA 3D printer can produce successful prints. But the quality of the model is more affected by the materials used. Photosensitive resin is a common liquid, and things printed with this material usually have strength, high temperature and water resistance. When using resin, we need to pay attention that the photosensitive resin material is not suitable for a long time, it is easy to harden and toxic, and should be kept closed when not in use.

Resin-printed models face some issues with becoming brittle and hardening, and regular resins also react to light and humidity and may become weaker over time. Therefore, according to the use of the printed model, if you expect it to have a tougher quality, you can consider an upgraded version of the standard resin. The model printed with Anycubic UV Tough Resin is anti-collision and high pressure resistance, while providing clear printing details and precision, suitable for DIY, maker design and other models and parts that require high rigidity.


Best choice of Entry-level SLA Printer

There are many entry-level LCD-based SLA printers, the machine configuration of Anycubic Photon Mono 4K is among the best. Equipped with a 6.23-inch large screen, the resolution reaches 4K (3,840 x 2,400), which means that many details can be seen on the printed model. Anycubic Photon Mono 4K can print up to 165 x 132 x 80 mm, and with an impressive print speed at ≤ 50 mm/hr. It only takes 2.5 hours to print an ordinary 12 cm model, saving about 30 minutes compared with other competing machines on the market.


Anycubic Photon Mono 4K is a very popular SLA resin printer for 3D printing enthusiasts. It can meet the printing needs of most small and medium models withe extremely high quality. The price is another very attractive point. Originally priced at $289, discounts during the event make it become the best quality printer under $200. Click to see the discounted prices of best budget entry-level printers. Of course, if you pursue more refined printing or want a larger print size to satisfy your creativity, then Anycubic Photon M3 Premium is the flagship of MSLA 3D printer. It is equipped with an 8K high resolution screen and a large print size of 219x123x250mm, which is one of the most detailed configuration among the large format desktop SLA resin printers.

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