One of the most widely used of all additive manufacturing technologies, stereolithography (SL) converts three dimensional CAD data to solid objects by curing thin cross-sections of specially formulated photopolymers with a finely focused laser. Excellent surface aesthetics are achieved with a degree of accuracy and precision that is among the best of all 3D printing technologies.
The accuracy, precision, smooth surface and full density of SL produced part, consistency of properties across all axis, and the ability to access one of the widest ranges of material properties of any AM process has made SL the most widely used AM process for concept models, form and fit and other prototype parts. These same characteristics have led to the expansive use of stereolithography for tooling and patterns: investment casting, RTV tooling (also known as urethane molding), thermoforming and injection molding. In fact, a substantially greater percentage of all photopolymer materials sold for SL are used for tooling and patterns than any other application.