Stereolithography: How does it work?
At Axis, to produce a piece of rapid prototyping in additive manufacturing, it is mandatory to have a 3D file (formats: .IGES, .STEP, .STL, .CatPart) because we do not have a design office.
Once the file is processed, we cut your 3D file into thin slices according to the layer thickness needed to start production. Production media are generated and associated with the part: they serve as scaffolding for production.
The information related to the preparation is transmitted to the Stereolithography machine which is itself composed of a pilot computer, a resin tray, a platform, a mirror and a laser. The construction of the piece begins with the platform flush with the resin while being immersed.
Once the machine is launched, the laser starts and the mirror directs its beam along a trajectory calculated by the pilot computer to trace the contours of the room. The laser will allow to photopolymerize the resin which will therefore harden. The platform will descend as and when to stack the layers of resins constituting the prototype. A mechanical arm is present to scrape the tank resin and deposit liquid resin where necessary to obtain a smooth and flat result.
The various stages follow one another: the laser taps on the resin, the platform goes down, the scraper smooths the resin, etc. Once all the successive layers have been produced, the platform rises to the surface of the resin tray to reveal the pieces produced.
Following this, the part is peeled off its platform to be rid of the remaining liquid resins and its supports. It is exposed to UV to be more hardened. Finally, our modelers sand and sand the prototypes manually before applying the finish desired by the customer (varnish, primer, paint, inserting, transfer, metallization …)
Video stereolithography at Axis
Several resins are possible. Here is a sampling to allow you to distinguish differences (color, opacity, …):
GP Plus, Evolve and Xtreme resins have the same mechanical characteristics as ABS.
Next, Accura 25 or Xtreme resins are similar to thermoplastic PP because they produce prototypes with a smooth surface and good resolution. These materials are favored to create the master models of vacuum casting.
Taurus resin is close to PA type thermoplastics. This material binds both good rigidity and good flexibility.
Clearvue resin is rigid. Similar to PC thermoplastics, it produces relatively rigid parts that once finished can be transparent or translucent
Finally, the HPC resin is quite resistant because it is loaded with ceramic.
ADVANTAGES WITH STEREOLITHOGRAPHY
This process of additive manufacturing is ideal to obtain pieces of good quality: the prototypes obtained are often precise and aesthetic. Indeed, complex prototypes are easier to manufacture by this 3D printing process. Axis has a large selection of resin to match your request.
DISADVANTAGES WITH STEREOLITHOGRAPHY
This additive manufacturing process has two main disadvantages:
– The first: the manufacturing process is such that supports are created around prototyped parts. These supports must be removed to obtain the final piece.
– The second: The prototypes printed in stereolithography have a limited mechanical strength because the parts are very fragile.