SLA 3D Printing Services

3D printing and rapid prototyping technology

Home | Prototyping Services | SLA 3D Printing Services

What is SLA 3D Printing & Stereolithography?


Stereolithography (SLA) also often referred to as SL 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.

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.

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.

Examples of Projects involving SLA 3D Printed Parts

Triscan Fuel Pump Advertising Nozzle

  When approached by the UK’s largest manufacturer and supplier of fuel management systems, the challenge was to create a prototype durable enough to withstand the rigours of fuel such as...

Thiery Mugler Stars

This Paris based fashion brand was launched in 1973 by designer Thierry Mugler. The Thierry Mugler brand is evolving its identity in retail as they set to unify their fragrance lines under one...

Polar Watches Display Units

Malcolm Nicholls Limited (MNL) produced an extensive array of point of sale display units, utilising a wide variety of process that MNL has to offer. For most of the clear components, these were 3D...

Wrigleys Gum Display Cabinets

Malcolm Nicholls Limited (MNL) were approached by a POS design company to produce prototypes that emulated there design challenges such as durability for in store trials and uniqueness of the...

Alexander McQueen Oversized Perfume Bottle

Every element of the McQueen experience is hand-crafted and meticulous - as demonstrated by the beauty of the beguiling fragrance flacon. An object d’art, intricate antique gold...

Kenwood Chef Model

For more than fifty years the Kenwood Chef has been a lifesaver in the kitchen – more than 10 million have been sold worldwide.

Childs Plate

This model was produced for a university student’s final degree show for Product Design. Malcolm Nicholls Limited (MNL) gave the student 20% off, further helping them to produce their new plate concept to promote children to eat fruit and vegetables.

SATCase Mobile Phone Converter

SATcase™ is a revolutionary device that transforms the common smartphone into a sophisticated satellite phone. After placing their smartphone into a durable, ruggedized case and installing the SATcase™...

Razor Handles

Certain projects have been selected from MNL’s Rich History, this one comes from 2008: First launched in 2008, the Azor 4-Blade System Razor from King of Shaves was the first British designed system razor...

Earlex Steam Cleaner

Certain projects have been selected from MNL’s Rich History, this one comes from 2002: Steam cleaning allows you to deep clean and disinfect without the use of chemicals or abrasive materials. A...

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. 

Get a quote for your SLA project now

Looking for a quote on your SLA project? Use our simple quoting system

Technical Section

SLA Machine Sizes at MNL

Available Materials

Choose a method to get your prices 

Online instant quote

Please upload your CAD designs for an instant quotation

Upload data

Have a project and the data to hand? Send it to us

Request a call back

We will happily call you back at a time to suit you

Speak to us

Get in touch we would love to help

Get in touch


Waterloo Industrial Estate, Waterloo Cres, Bidford-on-Avon, B50 4JH

Call Us

01789 490382

Email Us