STEREOLITHOGRAPHY, or SL, emerged in the mid-1980s and established itself as a staple of additive manufacturing (AM) over the next decade. Since that time, SL’s ability to quickly and accurately create complex prototypes has helped transform the design world like never before.
As with other AM processes like selective laser sintering (SLS) and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), SL relies on lasers to do the heavy lifting. Parts are built by curing paper-thin layers of liquid thermoset resin, using an ultraviolet (UV) laser that draws on the surface of a resin turning it from a liquid into a solid layer. As each layer is completed, fresh, uncured resin is swept over the preceding layer and the process repeated until the part is finished. A post-build process is required on SL parts, which undergo a UV-curing cycle to fully solidify the outer surface of the part and any additional surface finish requirements.
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