STEREOLITHOGRAPHY & 3D PRINTING

Stereolithography is a rapid prototyping technology by additive manufacturing (3D printing).

Axis uses the Stereolithography process: the reference technology for rapid prototype production!

To obtain prototypes it is necessary to have a 3D file created using CAD software such as SolidWorks, Catia or Rhinoceros.

Stereolithography is a fast prototyping technology which applies the additive manufacturing or 3D printing method. To do this, a 3D digital file, obtained with the help of CAO (SolidWorks, Catia, Rhinocéros, …) software, is necessary. The prototype is created on a platform which has been dipped in a resin bath. A laser will photo-polymerise this resin, as part of the design of the first layer of the object. Once this layer has been designed, the platform will descend 0.10 to 0.15 mm and renew the operation up until the construction of the prototype is complete. As soon as the prototype has been manufactured, various possibilities are available to you: functional (inclusion of inserts, …), colour (layer of paint or primer + paint, ..), transparency – translucency (varnish), metallisation (using the Jet Metal method), …

Stereolithography at AXIS: our strengths

Axis has a workshop that allows us to have a varied range of proposed finishes on parts made in stereolithography. We have the possibility to finish the pieces according to a color that you have defined (RAL Paint, Pantone, NCS, or sample to provide us), we can varnish your pieces as well as make the installation of inserts and transfers, or assemble your prototype. We also have the technical skills required to make metallization more than realistic thanks to the Jet Metal process.

Axis also offers several materials that can be similar to final materials (ABS type material, polypro or transparent PC).

In addition, our machine fleet is large enough to allow us to be responsive and fully fulfill our rapid prototyping activity with the realization of large parts.

AXIS: possible applications in stereolithography

Axis has other types of services for your 3D printing projects.

For the production of small series of parts, we do vacuum casting: stereolithography is useful in this case to create a master model that will make the silicone mold in which other parts will be cast.

By assembling and finishing, we can send you prototypes corresponding to 100% to your finalized project. In order to be sure of getting closer to a finite object we can do dimensional and geometric checks.

Offered Material

Accura 25: White colour resin. An accurate and flexible plastic which is ideal for assemblies with instant adaptation, master models for vacuum molding and functional and durable prototypes, with the appearance of polypropylene (PP).

Clearvue: Translucent or transparent resin depending on the finish. It’s a very clear kind of plastic with excellent resistance to humidity, suitable for several kinds of applications in which transparency is essential, such as headlights, complex assemblies or fluid flows. This plastic has an appearance of a transparent polycarbonate (PC).

Evolve: White colour resin. This resin is adapted for applications where mechanical resistance is necessary. It is almost impossible to distinguish it from traditional finished thermoplastics, which makes it perfect for the manufacture of pieces and prototypes for functional test applications.

GP plus: White colour resin. This material mirrors production plastics like ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and PBT (Butylene Polyterephtalate), which makes it an ideal choice for practically any kind of application.

Next: White colour resin. This plastic has the look, feel and performance of a thermoplastic, but with a hardness, durability and accuracy which are not traditional characteristics in stereolithography resins.

HPC (Nanotool): Broken white resin. It is adapted for tests requiring a high temperature. It allows for the production of composite pieces which are robust, rigid and resistant to elevated temperatures and which are ideal for tooling and wind tunnel testing.

Taurus: A stereolithography which is extremely durable and resistant to high temperatures. Its robustness, combined with its anthracite gray appearance, makes it ideal for functional prototypes and accurate pieces which have an excellent surface quality and isotropic mechanical properties.

Xtreme: Grey colour resin with properties identical to those of Accura 25 resin.

Our Machine Park

3 SLA 5000 : 500 x 500 x 589 mm
1 SLA 3500 : 350 x 350 x 380 mm
2 SLA IPRO 8000 : 670 x 775 x 550 mm
1 SLA IPRO 9000 : 1500 x 750 x 550 mm
1 RPS Néo 800 : 800 x 800 x 650 mm
1 Pro X 800: 650 x 750 x 550 mm

machine de stereolithographie pour l impression 3d

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.

SLA_Axis

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.

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