Intricate designs with perfect boundaries

highly fine and detailed form with malleability and flexibility made possible with SLA 3D Printing.

SLA 3D printing has revolutionized modelling and prototyping

Designs printed with Stereolithographic printing are flexible and highly accurate with very little need for reprinting to achieve immaculate form.

3D printing technologies are a revolution in the making and Apex Research Laboratories is deeply invested in curating and developing a significant part of this growth. While the idea of 3D printing has become integrated into our imagination of everyday life, its potential remains futuristic and retains a very high ceiling for innovation. The medical industry, for example has benefited greatly from the expansion provided to the development of artificial organs, and highly mobile prosthetics. In the field of interior design vast innovations are made possible because of the rapid prototyping and the accuracy of prototypes produced, producing items for various interior needs, from show pieces to functional elements. 3D printing has made major breakthroughs in the agriculture sector as well with many parts of agricultural machines and implements being produced via these technologies.

SLA 3D Printing

SLA 3D printing was one of the first kinds of additive manufacturing invented with the first patent for SLA technology patented by Charles Hull in 1986 and remains still one of the best ways to produce fine-grained if, at times, brittle products. The technology produces artifacts at small scales and is ideal for crafting items that require a highly fine grain without any structural errors. SLA printing uses resin-based substances which are ultra-violet light sensitive and thus are sculpted by the exposure to light, allowing for very clean cuts and well-defined boundaries to even very complex shapes. Upon exposure to light, these resin-based substances form polymerizing monomers. The shape is brought to light by layered curing ideally used in items such as jewelry, for example, allowing surprising suppleness and malleability with form. 

How does it work?

Like other types of 3D printing, SLA printing works by constructing microscopically small slices of a larger shape, modeled in a Computer-Aided-Design based software. Much like a loaf of bread, the overall shape is modeled and then imaged into thin slices, which in the case of SLA printing is brought into substance through reflected lasers, which cure layers of resonated substance that are placed flat against a base plate or LCD panel. In some cases, SLA printers also use a UV right below the LCD panel that shapes a slice of the resin, one at a time; this second type of process works faster than the laser-based SLA technology. The polymer resin above the photo plate has a gap between the cured or set polymer resin and the fresh or uncured resin, which is yet to be exposed to light. The light then scans the upper layer, forming the solid shape projected onto it. When one layer is finished, a fresh layer of resin is swept onto the plate again.

Resins

Different types of resins produce different types of reactions to UV light and different degrees of hardness, flexibility, and detail. The resin types are distinguished based on their materiality, ranging from flexible type resins to dental resins to clear resins for different applications. 

Products made

Most popularly and as an ideal example, resin-based 3D printing is used to create characters for table-top games and allows for all the fine-grain details that other printers such as FDM printers do not allow. Details such as a character’s hair or musculature come to life via this form of printing. Similarly, SLA printing forms an ideal type to construct architectural models and prototypes due to the high definition provided to boundaries and edges without the product developing hairs or blobs in critical sections of the piece is often the problem with other types of 3D printing. 

The models for a architecture we have developed clearly shows the level of detail our products can reach and thus form an ideal opportunity for architectural students to save time and energy usually spent making three-dimensional models manually. Instead, resin-based printing allows these models to be developed piece-by-piece and assembled into an array of complexity. While our FDM printers can also be used to make products highly durable, SLA printers might be more beneficial for models that require a highly refined geometric structure. The primary disadvantage with SLA printers, of course, is the product’s brittleness, which implies that such printers are not valuable for designing equipment and tools. For more on this, please refer to our page on FDM printers. On the other hand, SLA printers are renowned for revolutionizing the dental field, with the earlier reliance on guesswork and estimation to produce accurate molds being bypassed entirely by the degree of detail these printers can produce.

Advantages of SLA Printing

Disadvantages of SLA Printing

SLA printing allows the designer to create highly imaginative forms. It allows for considerable freedom with creative interpretation. At Apex Research Laboratories, we attempt to enable this creative process and give designers the impetus to produce their ideas clearly and with all the details they envisioned intact.

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