Basics of SLA 3D Printing

Basics of SLA 3D Printing

SLA 3D printing, or Stereolithography, is an additive manufacturing technology. It is best known for printing complex, fine-featured parts fast and accurately with a perfect surface finish. This resin 3D printing process is becoming more and more popular due to these capabilities.

Let’s first start with what SLA (Stereolithography Apparatus) 3D printing is and how it works. SLA produces parts layer by layer. It is also a form of vat photopolymerization, which is a resin 3D printing technique that produces objects by curing photopolymer liquid resin through light-activated polymerization selectively. Then, a laser beam (UV light) must be
focused on the surface of a photosensitive liquid. A set of mirrors then reflect the UV light onto the photopolymer resins, which causes the photopolymers to stick to the platform. As layers are cured, the build platform is lowered or raised, followed by a new photopolymer later. The process repeats itself until the object is complete.

SLA 3D Printing has many key benefits among which is the wide range of configuration of SLA resin materials including standard resins, high-temperature resins, flexible resins, clear resins and castable resins.

Industrial SLA 3D Printers have many advantages in production. They have large builg volume, speed, high-quality and complex part production with a smooth surface finish. It is possible to produce end-use parts, manufacturing tools and injection mould on industrial SLA 3D printers easily.

Advantages of SLA 3D Printing

As mentioned before, it is possible to build complex parts with repeatable accuracy with SLA 3D printing. SLA 3D printing gives us the ability to adjust the laser, pixel resolution and layer height to achieve the right accuracy. Also, SLA 3D printing removes heat from the light source and keeps the printer’s temperature consistent, which is a big plus. SLA 3D printers can also print in various materials for many different industries. Among these are polymers, rubber-like materials, biocompatible polymers and many more. Furthermore, SLA 3D printers can print at resolutions like 10 microns, which means that the final part will have fine features. This reduces the need to post-process the materials, while at the same time increasing accuracy in complex parts. As a result, you get smooth surface finish and shorter lead times.

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3D printing has multiple purpose the most popular of which is prototyping. However, production is also becoming more and more commonplace, which brings together the need to dive into the area of industrial 3D printing. It is widely assumed that industrial 3D printers are old, take too much space, expensive and not very fast. All this is a misbelief. Industrial 3D printers today are Professional machines in terms of throughput, build volume, repeatability and precision. Now, let’s see some of the industrial 3D printing technologies there are so that you can decide which one fits the needs of your business.

First of all, it must be known that by 3D printing, we mean highly reliable and consistent 3D printers with high resolution, can print engineering-grade materials, fast, compatible with many materials and software, have large build volume, need rare maintenance and are equipped with safety features. Industrial 3D printing includes Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) and Vat Photopolymerization or resin 3D printing along with other advanced technologies.

Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)

Also known as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), it is a 3D printing extrusion process which melts thermoplastic filaments and prints it layer by layer on the print bed. They can print with engineering-grade thermoplastics, have low cost of technology acquisition, simple to understand, run and operate.

Vat Photopolymerization / Resin 3D Printers

It includes resin 3D printing processes such as Stereolithography (SLA), Digital Light Processing (DLP) and Masked Stereolithography (mSLA). These technologies make use of liquid thermosetting resin, meaning they cure or harden when they are exposed to laser or UV light source. This process must be repeated until the object is printed. Via this process, you can get high resolution and accuracy, achieve tight tolerances fast.

Selective Laset Sintering (SLS)

SLS 3D printers are widely used in a variety of industries and they are also used in many different applications. They are ideal for low volume manufacturing and they offer reliable part quality. In SLS, polymer materials are in powdered form. Then, the powder particles are sintered and fused by CO2 laser and form a bond. Then, the laser goes on tracing all individual points layer by layer until the whole object is printed.

For further information on these industrial 3D printing technologies and many more, get in touch with our team of experts today!

What are STL Files?

What are STL Files?

If you own a 3D printer, it is highly likely that you have an idea of what you want to print and how to print it. It is also possible that you also have the ability to design 3D prints. However, you might be confused or lost when it comes to start the process of 3D printing. You simply may not have the time to create and design files yourself. So, let’s try to explain what an STL file is to provide more detailed information.
First of all, let’s start with what an STL file is. STL stands for “Standard Triangle / Tessellation Language”. STL file format is one of the most used file formats for 3D printing and CAD (Computer Aided Design). These contain geometric information of a design which will be 3D printed. These designs are symbolised by triangles in STL files, which gives the format its name. Since these triangles have edges, where they will be located can be decided by a computer or a slicing program, thus creating an image to be 3D printed. As the design gets more complex, more triangles will be used to represent it. There is no data in an STL file regarding texture, colour, or qualities like flexibility or strength, they only include information on shape and geometry. On a side note, there are some alternatives to STL files, such as OBJ files, which contain colour and texture profile information. When an STL file is downloaded, they are exported into a 3D printing slicer, where they are converted into G-code.
When an STL file is downloaded, it is exported into a 3D printing slicer. At this point, the file is converted into G-code, which is a language your 3D printer understands and uses to print your part.

3D Printing and Sustainability

3D Printing and Sustainability

3D printing is becoming more and more popular as it reduces lead times and is now much more economic and reliable than traditional manufacturing methods. More and more companies choose to manufacture their products via Additive Manufacturing methods. However, companies are also getting more conscious about the environment, searching for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and manufacture without waste. Let’s see what makes 3D printing a sustainable manufacturing method and why it should be chosen over traditional methods.
To begin with; owning a 3D printer, or having your parts 3D printed for you, means the part will not be transported many times. This means that you will not waste your time trying to get your parts via traditional supply chain manufacturing. Being able to produce parts on a 3D printer means no outsourcing, and thus no shipping, which removes pollution problems that come with them. Furthermore, 3D printers are faster than traditional manufacturing methods, which cuts energy consumption almost by half. 3D printing is also environmentally friendly with its material options. 3D printers use less material compared to any other manufacturing method. They use exactly the same amount of material needed to print a specific part. A majority of printers use recycled filaments in prints, which makes the whole process sustainable. In other words; waste is minimised in 3D printing as we print exactly what we need without wasting any material. As the designs are digitised, only the amount necessary to print that specific geometry is used. This whole process brings the waste down from %30 to nearly %0. As a plus, all this is possible without having to sacrifice part quality.
To sum up, 3D printing is definitely sustainable. As it reduces transport, there is less (or no) transport cost, which brings about less carbon dioxide emission. It gives us a chance to produce the entire part together with its packaging locally, minimising transportation costs and removing any harm to the ozone layer. Furthermore, the materials used to print are commonly biodegradable. Then, less carbon emission, less energy, less waste and the use of biodegradable materials all make 3D printing an ideal and sustainable manufacturing method.

Speed and Ease of Use: The XiP

Speed and Ease of Use: The XiP

As 3D printing industry is growing day by day, choosing a 3D printer becomes challenging even for professionals. There are many options to choose from with very different features, which makes it all the more difficult. Almost everyone agrees on some points when they consider buying a new 3D printer. Among these are speed and the quality of the printed part. However, the process of 3D printing is also of great importance. Engineers at Nexa3D work hard to create a 3D printing experience which will make users happy. This is also true for the XiP, which is Nexa3D’s most accessible 3D printer. Let’s pinpoint what a smooth 3D printing experience means for the user.
Speed is the priority for designers and engineers from all sectors, with industries becoming more competitive every day. In order to keep up with this competition, brands have to produce parts in the shortest period of time. Same the other Nexa3D printers, the XiP is also engineered with LSPc technology, which makes them ultra-fast. It also features 4.8 litres build volume, making it the largest on the market. This means both larger and more parts to be produced. However, speed and productivity begin before printing starts. The amount of time spent while preparing the print also has to be short. Uploading and orienting the print file and loading the resin all have to take as little time as possible in order for the printing process to be actually “ultra-fast”. The XiP makes all these possible. NexaX software is a fast and intuitive one, which makes the preparation process quick and simple no matter how many parts you are printing. Loading and changing the resin are both easy and quick steps with the XiP. It is possible to print prototypes and production parts on the XiP as it is able to handle a wide variety of resins. The users can also design their own resins specific to their needs. All in all, the XiP makes every step of the printing process fast and easy. Furthermore, the XiP is also the perfect choice for dental and orthodontics purposes. Conventional solutions are very slow, which makes the paint wait for a very long time. Now, an orthodontist can use an intraoral scanner on the patient’s teeth, which is then converted into a CAD file to be sent to a dental lab. The part is then 3D printed. Even though it may also take a long time depending on how busy the lab is, the XiP dramatically reduces the time spent on these processes as it is able to print many dental parts in one build.
The XiP has a simple resin system, an intuitive software and other features including a replaceable LCD module and a two-part vat system to clean failed prints easily. The Everlast-2 membrane and aluminium frame fit together smoothly and easily. They can be used repeatedly, which is something other resin 3D printers cannot provide.
As a result, Nexa3D’s game-changing desktop resin 3D printer XiP makes it possible for the user to experience a fast, easy and smooth 3D printing process.
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Metal FFF Printing, Better Supports, Higher Surface Quality

Ultimaker Cura 5.1 is here and it brings with it simple metal FFF printing, better supports and a higher surface quality. There are some features which came with Metal Expsnsion Kit containing the new DD 0.4 print core and Ultrafuse Support Layer materials. Here are some of them:
  1. There will now be a shrinkage plate which will automatically occur when you are using an Ultrafuse metal material profile. This will prevent the part from being deformed.
  2. The new DD print core is now supported to be used specifically with the new Ultrafuse Support material.
  3. There will now be an interface layer which will automatically be created between the model and the metal support, and between the model and the automatic shrinkage plate. This will make it easier to remove the supports.
With these features, it will now be possible to have a simple and affordable metal FFF workflow. In this way, part printing and debinding & sintering processes will be possible via BASF’s network.

High Segment Resolution & Better Surface Quality

It is now possible to print parts with a higher segment resolution on Ultimaker S-line printers. Models that have smooth curves; such as spheres, cones, cylinders and much more complex parts will have better surface quality because the printing will be carried out with twice as many segments. This was made possible with a new resolution algorithm and removing unnecessary jerks and acceleration from the command within G-code. Removing redundant commands led to less vibrations. G-code files ended up becoming %20 smaller.

Faster printing with support materials

With the new update, it is now possible to achieve faster and more reliable printing with support materials using either Ultimaker PVA or Ultimaker Breakway supports. When printing with the support materials, a new zig-zag pattern will be used rather than the previous triangle pattern. Also, the outer wall around these supports was removed and the density was increased.
It is now possible to print %20 times faster and PVA supports will dissolve faster, which will bring about faster removal of supports. Furthermore, the slicing process will be more intuitive.
If settings are changed from the default ones, you will be notified. In that case, you can identify which ones were changed by going into custom mode, where you will see the altered settings in italics accompanied by an arrow symbol.


  • Material profiles for the upcoming Tough PLA colors (blue, yellow, and gray)
  • Several bugfixes such as security fixes and an issue with monotonic ordering that prevented it from applying to the topmost surface layer of prints
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