MSLA - What are the Advantages compared to SLA?

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There are different manufacturing methods in 3D printing with resin. Depending on the type of light source or the process used to solidify the photopolymer, technologies such as SLA, DLP or MSLA can be used. Here we will take a closer look at SLA and MSLA and how they differ and what they have in common.

An SLA printer works by using a photopolymerizable liquid that is cured by a laser beam.The laser beam of the printer cures the resin layer by layer where the object is built up. The platform is gradually increased to print the object layer by layer.

difference sla/msla

MSLA printers work similarly to SLA printers, but use a different method to cure the resin. Instead of a laser, an LCD display is used to project UV light onto the resin and cure it layer by layer. The LCD display consists of an array of pixels that block or allow the UV light to pass through in order to cure the resin accordingly and build up the desired object.

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Features of MSLA and SLA technologies

The differences between SLA and MSLA 3D printing lie in the light curing of the resin and the light source. As a result, the composition and elements of 3D printers differ from device to device. Due to the different exposure to UV light, the printing speed and production times also vary. While the number of layers and the amount of material to be cured per layer are crucial in SLA printing, only the number of layers to be printed matters in MSLA. Therefore, MSLA solutions have a speed advantage, especially when printing very large or multiple objects.

MSLA 3D printers have a clear advantage over traditional SLA 3D printers: the combination of the simultaneous curing of the complete layer and a large build area enables a much higher throughput. The larger the volume of the print, the greater the speed advantage of MSLA technology. Especially when there is a possibility of ┬┤flat alignment of the objects.

printtime comparison

The horizontal resolution for the two methods is different, although the slice height for the MSLA method is identical to that for the SLA method. The resolution in SLA is based on the diameter of the laser beam, while in MSLA it depends on the resolution of the LCD screen. Another difference is that SLA technology does not have steps in the X/Y axes due to the adjustment of the laser beam via a mirror, while MSLA solutions can have steps that depend on the pixel density of the screen.

In summary, MSLA printers offer significantly higher throughput than SLA printers due to the simultaneous curing of the complete layer and a large build area. This makes them an ideal choice for applications where rapid production of parts is required.

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Similarities between MSLA and SLA technologies

Although there are differences between SLA and MSLA 3D printing, there are also similarities in some aspects. Both processes require in the design of parts. Part alignment is especially important because the printing time depends on the height of the part. Both methods also need to follow the 3 typical post-processing steps, namely cleaning, curing and surface treatment. During the cleaning stage, excess resin and substrate is removed by immersion in isopropanol alcohol. Curing is performed by post-polymerizing the resin in a UV post-curing box.