SLA 3D Printing Services

3D printing and rapid prototyping technology

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What is SLA 3D Printing & Stereolithography?


Stereolithography (SLA) also often referred to as SLA is the most widely used 3D Printing technology and it is generally considered to provide the greatest accuracy and best surface finish of any prototyping or 3D printing process. Stereolithography is an industrial 3D printing process used to create concept models, complex or even very intricate parts. It is a popular choice as many parts can be built in just a day! With MNLs secondary finishing services such as painting and finishing we can make your part and the details within it really stand out.

How does SLA work? 

A computer controlled UV laser beam scans across the surface of a vat of photosensitive resin that instantly turns the liquid to solid wherever it touches. Successive layers or slices of cured resin are gradually built up into a solid version of the intended CAD model until your part is complete. 

Newly built parts are taken out of the SLA machine and taken into our processing room where solvents are used to remove any additional resins. The additional resin will all be removed so we can then remove any support structures manually. After the supports and all the resin has been removed the majority of parts will undergo a UV-curing cycle to fully solidify the outer surface of the part. If the part is a clear part we will leave it to dry naturally.

The final step in the SLA process is the application of any specified finishing touches such as metalising, painting, flocking or additional vinyls.

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Why Choose Stereolithography for your 3D Printing Project?

Stereolithography or SL as its also known as is an excellent choice for rapid prototyping and for projects that require the production of very accurate and finely detailed parts. It is ideal for producing show-and-tell parts to enable validation of concept ideas and as well as ergonomic testing. 

Large parts? Utilise SLA printing 

MNL are home to one of the UKs largest 3D printers with an impressive build platform of 800 x 800 x 600mm we can produce first class large frame parts parts quickly. Offering best in class; exceptional part sidewall quality, with a scanning resolution to within 1 micron, our NEO800 systems significantly reduce finishing times by up to 50%. NEO800 has a variable spot size laser. It goes small for intricate detail on the boundaries of parts and then it goes larger for filling in the rest of the section. As a result, this combination of intricacy and super-fast build speeds, produces excellent quality components in super quick time frames.

Inside an SLA

A short 2 min video of a 15 hour build of a piece of art being built on a large format SLA machine at MNL.

What are the benefits of SLA 3D Printing?

  • SLA has a high resolution.
  • Large parts can be printed quickly. 
  • Virtually optically clear parts can be achieved *ask us about it
  • 3D models can be sanded, painted, & tinted
  • Prototypes can be made in a matter of hours
  • Small intricate details can be showcased in your part
  • Extremely durable material making it excellent for snap fits
  • Ultra Hi-res mode utilises the lasers extremely small spot size of just 0.075mm
  • Offers the best 3D surface finish for additional finishing

SLA 3D Printing Applications

  • Master patterns for polyurethane castings
  • Aesthetic & conceptual models
  • Parts requiring crisp detail and accuracy
  • Quickcast™ investment “wax” patterns
  • Design evaluation models
  • Clear Flow analysis models
  • Water clear models including lenses and light-guides
  • Masters for vacuum casting
  • Mold shells for metal casting
  • Functional assemblies
  • Wind tunnel models
  • Health items (dental, surgery, medicine, etc.

Virtually optically clear SLA parts?

Our team of 3D printing experts have mastered virtually optically clear parts from our SLA machines, we can help you see inside your assembly, utilised by many of our clients for flow testing and analysis as well as replicating glass for many designs. Glass like SLAs can be achieved with MNL not just for lenses and lighting based components. 

One of the largest 3D Printers in the UK

Home to one of the largest 3D printers in the UK our Neo 800 has an impressive 800 x 800 x 600m build capacity. Whereas most SLA 3D Printing machines previously would of required large parts to be built in sections we now have the ability to build parts without the need for cutting meaning parts are built quicker, finishing is stream lined and its cost saving.

Examples of some of the Different Finishes Achievable with SLA Technology

Levels of Clarity

Exploring the differing levels of clarity that can be achieved on the SLA machines at MNL.

Being Clear About SLA

Not just used for lenses and lighting based components. See inside your assembly with a clear version of your housing. But how clear do you need it, or how much will it cost? An excellent illustration of examples and uses of making SLA parts in clear materials.

650mm Wide Size Bust on a Large SLA Printer

Using the 3D scanned data, MNL were able to produce a full size bust of Mr Cadbury using one of MNL’s large frame 3D print machines called Stereolithography (SLA).

Wind Tunnel Model for High Speed Aerodynamic Testing

The use of SLA enables the manufacture of high fidelity models which can readily incorporate the instrumentation necessary to assess the design. 

Technical Section

SLA Machine Sizes at MNL

Available Materials

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