What Does Stereolithography Mean?

Stereolithography (SLA) is an additive manufacturing process that builds solid prototypes, patterns and products from CAD drawings. SLA enables the construction of solid plastic prototypes that are weaved from a CAD-powered laser beam gun.


Stereolithography is also known as optical fabrication, photo solidification, solid free form solidification and solid imaging.

Techopedia Explains Stereolithography

SLA primarily enables the quick construction of smaller 3-D models and prototypes, where small parts can be created within hours. SLA, like any other additive manufacturing process, creates a model in a layered approach. It uses liquid plastic or curable photopolymer to serve as the material for each layer. The ultraviolet laser draws the object onto the liquid surface layer by layer until all layers are completed. When a layer is finished, it is exposed to ultraviolet laser light that solidifies the layer and allows it to merge with the previous layer.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…