SLA101: Introductory Formlabs Resin 3D Printers
Stereolithography, or “SLA” 3D printing, holds the cool distinction of being the world’s first 3D printing technology, born in 1986. An SLA printer uses angled, motorized mirrors to rapidly aim a laser beam across a vat of liquid photopolymer resin, selectively curing and solidifying a cross-section of the object, building it up layer by layer as the build plate and cured object are pulled out of the uncured resin goo slowly. Think of this sort of like Han Solo coming out of carbonite!
SLA parts boast some of the highest resolution and accuracy, clearest details, and smoothest surface finish of all plastic 3D printing technologies. As such, it's also well known for the wide variety of materials that it can utilize, from standard and strong resins to castable wax and ceramic resin. Not surprisingly, SLA 3D printing is widely used in a range of industries from engineering and product design to manufacturing, dentistry, jewelry, model making, and education.