Stereolitography, the Front Edge of Rapid Prototyping
Based on the annual sales volume, stereolitography (SLA) can be considered a Rapid Prototyping (RP) technology with a promising future. Besides being the pioneering equipment, when RP took the first steps in 1988, this technology has been developed with interesting and fast innovations, and a great activity in patents registration. One can assist to a strong research seeking the enlargement of the system capacity to produce large and micro-size parts, and simultaneously impose the technology as a mass production process that is evolving towards a true Rapid Manufacturing (RM) technology. SLA is an excellent tool to materialize concepts and ideas due to the high-resolution capacity, transparency and fine details of the models and prototypes that can be produced. In this study, the state of art of SLA is analyzed and the recent innovations are presented, and considering that the authors have a considerable experience in supervising design students, from different universities, some of the more emblematic projects that were developed at INEGI – Institute of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Management, are presented. SLA and direct conversion processes were combined to produce new products in materials such as glass, ceramics and metals, for different industrial sectors.
António Torres Marques, António Fernando Silva, António Paulo Monteiro Baptista, Carlos Sá, Fernando Jorge Lino Alves, Luís Filipe Malheiros and Manuel Vieira
F. J. Lino et al., "Stereolitography, the Front Edge of Rapid Prototyping", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 587-588, pp. 998-1002, 2008