Stereolithography (SLA)

Notably one of the oldest forms, SLA 3D printing is still considered powerful and highly respected. Continuing to advance over the decades, along with the entire additive manufacturing industry, SLA 3D printing is widely used for creating intricate 3D models, master patterns for industrial molds, and detailed, functional parts.

What is SLA 3D Printing?

A subcategory of vat polymerization, SLA 3D printing technology uses a laser to solidify, or cure, each thin layer of liquid resin deposited onto the build platform at the top of the resin tank. During this process, the laser traces or draws the design of the part in each layer.

The average layer height is around 100 microns, with a minimum of 25 microns. Famous for accuracy and precision, SLA 3D printing also offers strong adhesion between layers, resulting in good structural integrity for parts.

The Appeal of Stereolithography (SLA)

Since its inception and consequent patenting in 1984, SLA 3D printing still reigns very close to the top of the additive manufacturing hierarchy—superseded only by selective laser sintering (SLS)—another one of the primary forms of 3D printing created in the 80s, and formidable due to greater design freedom in creating complex geometries, and tough parts.

Originally intended for engineers and designers to enjoy as a tool for rapid prototyping, SLA 3D printing still serves its original purpose with ongoing appeal and momentum, due to the following benefits:

  • Designers and engineers have the ability to create strong, intricate prototypes quickly.
  • Industrial users are able to manufacture durable, functional parts with high resolution and tight tolerances.
  • SLA parts can be 3D printed on the small or large scale with precise, complex geometries.

Materials & Applications

SLA 3D printing materials and corresponding applications are as follows:

SLA Plastic Accura® 60

This acrylate is semi-clear, rigid, watertight, and suitable for 3D printing parts with great resolution and detail, offering smooth surfaces, and few layer lines.

Also known as Clear Plastic, Clear SLA, or Translucent Resin, Shapeways customers use this material for tech accessories, lighting components, casting patterns, snap-fit assemblies, and prototypes and models.

SLA Plastic Accura 60 is recommended for SLA 3D printing projects that require complex functional assemblies which also require transparency. Offered in a standard, semi-clear finish, products are sanded lightly to remove any nubs from support removal. There may also be slight variations in clarity and texture over the surface of the model, depending on print orientation and post-processing. Further optical clarity can be achieved in post-processing too, but that is generally not included with standard orders.

For this material, 3D models must meet the following minimum and maximum bounding box sizes:

  • Bounding Box Min: 3.8 x 3.8 x 3.8 mm
  • Bounding Box Max: 609 x 711 x 457 mm

To learn more about optically clear products available from Shapeways, please contact our Sales team.


Find SLA Plastic Accura 60 design guidelines here

SLA Plastic Accura® Xtreme™

A gray acrylate-based plastic suitable for 3D printing a versatile range of prototypes and parts at any size, Plastic Accura Xtreme is also known as Gray SLA or Gray Resin. This material is also watertight, good for printing on the small and large scale, and is used for complex, functional assemblies for applications like tech accessories, mechanical components, and snap-fit assemblies​.

Using SLA technology, Plastic Accura Xtreme 3D printed parts are known for their high resolution and detail. Offered in a standard gray finish, this material is also good for 3D printing parts with smooth surfaces and limited layer lines–similar to the finish that can be achieved through injection molding–but without the added time or expense. 

For Plastic Accura Xtreme, SLA 3D models must be within the following minimum and maximum bounding box sizes:

  • Bounding Box Min: 3.8 x 3.8 x 3.8 mm
  • Bounding Box Max: 482 x 482 x 558 mm


Find SLA Plastic Accura® Xtreme™ design guidelines here

Accura® Xtreme™ 200

A watertight photopolymer resin offering benefits like dimensional accuracy in parts, excellence in strength, durability, and surface finish, this material is also known as White SLA, White Resin, or Accura Xtreme White 200.

Accura Xtreme 200 is an ultra-tough white acrylate meant for the applications like mechanical parts, display models, snap-fit assemblies, and master patterns for vacuum casting. Offered in a standard white finish, products are sanded lightly to remove any nubs from support removal, although some markings from supports may remain. 

For this material, 3D models must be within the following minimum and maximum bounding box sizes:

  • Bounding Box Min: 3.8 x 3.8 x 3.8 mm
  • Bounding Box Max: 609 x 711 x 457 mm


Find SLA Accura® Xtreme™ 200 design guidelines here

Shapeways Expertise and Resources Save You Time & Capital

The ordering and production process is as easy as uploading one or more 3D designs, requesting instant quotes, checking for printability, and then waiting for parts to be manufactured—whether designated on an average, priority, or rush basis.

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