MSLA - What are the advantages over SLA?
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 photopolymerisable 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 raised to print the object layer by layer.
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 pass the UV light to cure the resin accordingly and build up the desired object.
Characteristics 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 the 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 decisive for SLA printing, only the number of layers to be printed is important for MSLA.
MSLA 3D printers have a clear advantage over traditional SLA 3D printers: the combination of 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 the possibility of a flat alignment of the objects.
The horizontal resolution in both methods is different, although the layer height in the MSLA method is identical to that in the SLA method. The resolution with SLA is based on the diameter of the laser beam, whereas with 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, whereas 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.
Characteristics 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. The alignment of the parts is especially important as the printing time depends on the height of the part. Both methods also need to follow the 3 typical post-treatment steps, namely cleaning, curing and surface treatment. During the cleaning stage, excess resin and substrate is removed by immersion in isopropanol alcohol. Curing is done by post-polymerising the resin in a UV post-curing box.