Stereolithography (SLA) is a form of 3D printing where a stereolithography machine uses a computer-controlled laser to cure a photo-sensitive resin, layer by layer, to create the 3D part or model.
SLA prototypes are often used as master patterns for metal castings due to their fine surface finish. Generally not suitable as end use parts because of the photo-sensitivity of the materials used to build SLA prototypes, they are instead mainly used as conceptual model or patterns.
SLA is fast, produces parts with fine detail with tolerances within .004″/inch. The complexity of the model is seldom a factor — however the prototypes purpose is paramount.
SLA prototypes can undergo various surface finishes such as metal plating and painting.