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All you need to know about SLA 3D printers

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

Stereolithography (SLA) printing is a form of additive manufacturing used mainly to create visual prototypes. This 3D printing technology traces back to 1986 and has all through been preferred due to its ability to create complex and intricate parts. To use the SLA printing technology, you need to at least acquire a standard SLA 3D printer.

SLA printing belongs to the resin 3D printing family and is one of the most cost-effective 3D printing technology that you can use today. This post covers all the crucial aspects of an SLA printer to enlighten anyone looking to acquire one for their additive manufacturing processes.

What is SLA 3D Printer?

The SLA 3D printer is a machine that uses an Ultraviolet beam to cure photopolymer cross-sections, changing them from liquid to solid and building them layer by layer into parts. The parts from this printing machine have a smooth surface but are not as strong as their thermoplastic counterparts.

There are two types of SLA 3D printers; the desktop LCD-based SLA 3D Printers suitable for manufacturing small injection molded parts and the industrial SLA machines ideal for creating large industrial parts and objects.

How do SLA 3D printers work?

With the aid of a computer-controlled mirror, the machine’s laser is directed to a photosensitive resin that solidifies on being shone with the Ultraviolet beam. On solidifying a given cross-section, a solid layer is formed and the process is repeated, adding layers to the main structure until the entire part is formed. Any resin that is not touched by the laser remains in the VAT and is recycled.

Once the process is complete, the model is removed and washed to remove any traces of resin. The part is then placed in a UV oven and allowed to cure. On curing, the part strengthens and achieves the required stability.

Where are SLA 3D printers used?

Due to their ability to create high-quality complex parts with very smooth surfaces, SLA 3D printers are used mainly in industries to create the following:

• Automotive styling parts

• Specialty materials such as dental models

• Sacrificial patterns for metal casting

• Patterns for vacuum casting

• Tools and industrial molds

• Visual prototypes and models, etc.

Cost of an SLA 3D printer

The cost of an SLA 3D printer mainly depends on the size and it goes without saying that the larger industrial SLA machines cost more than, the smaller desktop SLA printers. In general, with $350+, you can acquire an SLA printer for high precision and detailed 3D printing. Here are three SLA 3D printers from our website that you will find at much-discounted prices:

SLA 3D printing cost

As mentioned above, SLA is one of the cost-effective 3D printing methods. Now that we have covered the cost of acquiring the unit, most of the other cost goes to material and labor. For standard and engineering resins, expect to pay around $90-200 per Liter. This is still a decent price considering that you can make an acceptable amount of parts with this resin amount.

Since the printed parts need post-curing, you have to delegate the amount for the materials and equipment you choose for washing and post-curing.

Advantages and disadvantages of SLA printing

To effectively gauge whether this is the form of 3D printing you need for your business, evaluate the following SLA merits and demerits.


• They produce objects with intricate details and high dimensional accuracy

• Produces parts with very smooth finishes hence perfect for visual prototyping

• SLA resins are readily available

• High versatility in the size of the parts it produces while still maintaining high precision

• The printing cost is reasonable, considering that it is not necessary to create molds.


• Not suitable for functional prototyping since it produces relatively brittle parts

• Post-processing is needed to remove the visual marks left on the made parts

• Slower production hence not suitable for mass production


The choice between an SLA printer and other 3D printers depends on the form of additive manufacturing that you want to conduct. As seen above, SLA 3D printers are highly functional when it comes to parts with intricate geometrics, visual prototypes and concept models.

Do you want to run a successful 3D printing business? Visit our website and get the best deals for SLA printers or any other 3D printer you may want to add to your establishment.

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