Stereolithography (SLA) is the oldest 3D printing process and is particularly suitable for the representation of especially thin-walled complex geometries. But it is also possible to produce solid components. Liquid photopolymers (e.g. epoxy resin) are used as the material, which are cured layer by layer with the aid of UV light. A 3D model, which must be available as a CAD file, serves as the data basis for the object to be printed. With “slicing”, the model is broken down into individual thin layers that specify the coordinates for the points at which the material is to be cured by UV light. Stereolithography is often used to create detailed demonstration objects or master models, as this technology allows the depiction of particularly delicate structures.
The exceptional advantage of additive manufacturing processes such as stereolithography is the great design freedom. Compared to conventional ablative or recasting processes (e.g. milling, turning, rolling or forging), cavities, undercuts and internal structures can be created easily without causing additional expenditure in production.