Stereolithography


Stereolithography

Stereolithography is a common rapid manufacturing and rapid prototyping technology for producing parts with high accuracy and good surface finish. A device that performs stereolithography is called an SLA or Stereolithography Apparatus.

Technology description

Stereolithography is an additive fabrication process utilizing a vat of liquid UV-curable photopolymer "resin" and a UV laser to build parts a layer at a time. On each layer, the laser beam traces a part cross-section pattern on the surface of the liquid resin. Exposure to the UV laser light cures, or, solidifies the pattern traced on the resin and adheres it to the layer below.

After a pattern has been traced, the SLA's elevator platform descends by a single layer thickness, typically 0.05 mm to 0.15 mm (0.002" to 0.006"). Then, a resin-filled blade sweeps across the part cross section, re-coating it with fresh material. On this new liquid surface the subsequent layer pattern is traced, adhering to the previous layer. A complete 3-D part is formed by this process. After building, parts are cleaned of excess resin by immersion in a chemical bath and then cured in a UV oven.

Stereolithography requires the use of support structures to attach the part to the elevator platform and to prevent certain geometry from not only deflecting due to gravity, but to also accurately hold the 2-D cross sections in place such that they resist lateral pressure from the re-coater blade. Supports are generated automatically during the preparation of 3-D CAD models for use on the stereolithography machine, although they may be manipulated manually. Supports must be removed from the finished product manually; this is not true for all rapid prototyping technologies.

Advantages and disadvantages

Stereolithography has many common names such as: 3D printing, optical fabrication, photo-solidification, solid free-form fabrication, and solid imaging. One of the appealing aspects about SLA is that a functional part can be created within one day which becomes useful when working in a “ time is money” environment. However the amount of time to produce any one part depends on the size and complexity of it and can take anywhere from a few hours to more than a day. Most SLA machines can produce parts with a maximum size of 20” x 20” x 24”. Prototypes made by SLA can be very beneficial as they are strong enough to be machined and can be used as master patterns for injection molding, thermoforming, blow molding, and also in various metal casting processes. Although there are almost no limitations when it comes to the shapes of the parts that can be created the process is not by any means inexpensive. The photo-curable resin can cost any where from $300 to $800 per gallon. An SLA machine can cost from $100,000 to $400,000.

History

The term “stereolithography” was coined in 1986 by Charles (Chuck) W. Hull [U.S. Patent 4,575,330 (“Apparatus for Production of Three-Dimensional Objects by Stereolithography”)] . Stereolithography was defined as a method and apparatus for making solid objects by successively “printing” thin layers of the ultraviolet curable material one on top of the other. Hull described a concentrated beam of ultraviolet light focused onto the surface of a vat filled with liquid photopolymer. The light beam draws the object onto the surface of the liquid layer by layer, causing polymerization or crosslinking to give a solid. Because of the complexity of the process, it must be computer-controlled. [ [http://www.photopolymer.com/stereolithography.htm Stereolithography ] ] The first company aiming to generalize and commercialize the procedure was founded immediately alongside the invention.

Laser Prototypes (Europe) Ltd and Formation Ltd were the first two companies to start rapid prototyping in the UK. Laser Prototypes was also the first company to purchase a EOS stereolithography machine (SLS machine) in the UK although this was quickly followed by Rover (Coventry) and Daewoo (Worthing). Unfortunately after a period of rapid expansion Formation ceased trading in 1996 but Tim Plunkett its founder has continued his interest in the industry by working for various companies in the rapid prototyping field. Laser Prototypes are now the longest established rapid prototyping bureau in the UK and Ireland and recently completed another first by installing the latest EOS P390 selective laser sintering machine from EOS of Germany.

ee also

* Rapid prototyping
* 3D printing
* Solid freeform fabrication
* Stereolithography in medicine
* Fused deposition modeling
* Selective laser sintering
* Lithography

References

Notes

Bibliography

*Kalpakjian, Serope and Steven R. Schmid. Manufacturing Engineering and Technology 5th edition. Ch. 20 (pg 586-587 Pearson Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River NJ, 2006.

External links

* " [http://www.laserproto.com/ServicesProcess.aspx?PageID=5 Graphical Display of the Stereolithography Process] ": A resource page maintained by Laser Prototyes (Europe) Ltd,
* " [http://www.rapidprototypinghomepage.com The Rapid Prototyping Home Page] ": A resource page maintained by Andrei Novac, former graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah,
* Castle Island's " [http://home.att.net/~castleisland/ Worldwide Guide to Rapid Prototyping] ", with comprehensive information on rapid prototyping, rapid tooling, stereolithography and solid freeform fabrication technology products and services. Complete rapid prototyping service bureau listings.
* [http://computer.howstuffworks.com/stereolith.htm/printable How Stereolithography (3-D Layering) Works] from HowStuffWorks.com
* [http://www.mec.cf.ac.uk/services/?view=sla&style=default Manufacturing Engineering Centre (MEC), Cardiff University, UK]
* [http://www.protocam.com/html/video.html Rapid Prototyping and Stereolithography animation] - Animation demonstrates stereolithography and the actions of an SLA machine.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Stereolithography — Лазерная стереолитография (англ. Laser Stereolithography)  самая развитая и наиболее точная из технологий быстрого прототипирования. Основы технологии Технология лазерной стереолитографии основана на фотоиницииpованной лазеpным излучением или… …   Википедия

  • stereolithography — ster·e·o·li·thog·ra·phy (stĕr ē ō lĭ thŏgʹrə fē) n. A three dimensional printing process that makes a solid object from a computer image by using a computer controlled laser to draw the shape of the object onto the surface of liquid plastic. * *… …   Universalium

  • stereolithography — noun a means of rapid prototyping in which a laser hardens successive layers of a photopolymer to create a part with a shape defined by a computer model. Syn: SL, STL …   Wiktionary

  • stereolithography — noun the creation layer by layer of a three dimensional object from a computer generated design, using a liquid polymer which hardens on contact with a moving laser beam. Derivatives stereolithographic adjective …   English new terms dictionary

  • stereolithography — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Stereolithography (medicine) — Stereolithographic models have been used in medicine since the 1990 s, for creating 3D corporeal models of various anatomical regions of a patient, based on datasets from CT scans. Usage * Stereolithographic models have been used in medicine, in… …   Wikipedia

  • Chuck Hull — (Charles W. Hull; born May 12, 1939) is the co founder, executive vice president and chief technology officer of 3D Systems.[1] [2] He is the inventor of the solid imaging process known as stereolithography, the first commercial rapid prototyping …   Wikipedia

  • 3D Systems — Infobox Company company name = 3D Systems Corporation company company type = Public nasdaq|TDSC foundation = Valencia, California, USA 1986 location = Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA key people = Abe Reichental, President and CEO Chuck Hull, Co… …   Wikipedia

  • STL (file format) — Infobox file format name = STL icon = caption = extension = .stl mime = type code = uniform type = magic = owner = 3D Systems released = latest release version = latest release date = genre = Stereolithography container for = contained by =… …   Wikipedia

  • Fused deposition modeling — Fused deposition modeling, which is often referred to by its initials FDM, is a type of rapid prototyping or rapid manufacturing (RP) technology commonly used within engineering design. The technology was developed by S. Scott Crump in the late… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.