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Quick Overview on SLA 3D Printing

SLA 3D printing, also known as VAT-photopolymerization, works with 3D printers equipped with a light source – a laser or projector – to cure resin into hardened plastic. This technology creates highly isotropic parts. Engineers, designers, manufacturers, and more choose SLA 3D printing for its fine features, smooth surface finish, ultimate part precision and accuracy, and mechanical attributes like isotropy, water tightness, and material versatility.

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Image shows a coffee machine prototype with components 3D printed with SLA technology by Formlabs
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SLA 3D Printing Guidelines

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Why Choose SLA 3D Printing?

  • 3D print parts in high resolution and a smooth surface finish directly out of the machine
  • 3D printed parts can be easily cleaned, sanded, polished and painted
  • Create accurate parts with repeatable dimensions.
  • Material versatility for many applications, from prototyping and functional parts to medical devices (with biocompatible resins) or jewelry casting (wax-based resins)


Image of a speaker housing prototype 3D printed with Formlabs SLA technology

Capabilities & Finishing Solutions for SLA 

MAX. PART SIZE 14.5 × 14.5 × 18.5 cm | 5.7 × 5.7 × 7.3 in
MIN. FEATURE SIZE 85 µm | 0.0033 in.
BEST ACHIEVABLE TOLERANCE ± 0.015 in. or 0.0015 in. (whichever is greater)
PART TOLERANCES Within .005″ or less on the X/Y/Z axis
LAYER HEIGHT 50 – 100 μm
LEAD TIME 3 to 5 business days


Dry Sanding

Wet Sanding

Polishing | Buffing

Spray Painting

Polymer Coating


SLA 3D Printing Applications

From prototyping to production, from small to higher volumes, SLA 3D printing has applications in various industries. 

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Engineering and Product Design

Rapid Prototyping helps designers and engineers bring ideas to realistic models and high-quality prototypes.

  • Concept Models
  • Functional Prototyping
  • Validation Testing
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To address common problems that arise during manufacturing processes, getting 3D-printed replacement parts fast is vital.

  • Manufacturing aids (jigs and fixtures)
  • Rapid tooling (injection molding, thermoforming, silicone molding, blow molding, metal casting)
  • Low volume manufacturing
  • Mass customization
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Accelerate each stage of production with 3D-printed parts.

  • Rapid prototyping (concept models, functional prototyping, validation testing)
  • Rapid tooling
  • Manufacturing aids
  • End-use, aftermarket, and custom parts

Consumer Electronics

For electrical components, SLA 3D printing offers ESD-safe materials to safeguard sensitive electrical parts by channelling static electricity away.

  • Tooling & fixturing for electronics manufacturing
  • Anti-static prototype and end-use components
  • Custom trays for component handling and storage


SLA parts are widely used in manufacturing parts in both private and federal aerospace industries.

  • Rapid prototyping (wind tunnel testing)
  • Rapid tooling
  • Manufacturing aids
  • End-use, replacement, and custom parts


Rapidly create prototype designs, fit clients, and produce large batches of ready-to-cast pieces.

  • Lost-wax casting (investment casting)
  • Customized high-fidelity prototypes
  • Master patterns for rubber molding
Dental 3D printing solutions


As digital dentistry significantly evolved, SLA 3D printing is largely adopted for 15+ dental indications for a unique patient care.

  • Crown and bridge models
  • Clear aligner and Hawley retainer models
  • Surgical guides
  • Splints and occlusal guards
  • Patterns for casting and pressing
  • Dentures
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Create high quality custom ear products at higher volumes for applications like behind-the-ear hearing aids, hearing protection, and custom earplugs and earbuds.

  • Hearing aids
  • Noise protection
  • Consumer audio
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Medical professionals can now improve patient-care with SLA 3D printed custom medical devices or models.

  • Anatomical models for surgical planning
  • Medical devices and surgical instruments
  • Patient-specific implants


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Somos® Watershed XC 11122

Material: Clear Solution

Somos® Watershed XC 11122 is an easy-to-use, low-viscosity, water-resistant stereolithography (SLA) resin with numerous applications.

Full Description

Somos® WaterShed XC 11122 mimics the look and feel of clear thermoplastics, such as ABS and PBT. It offers superior clarity and water resistance.

  • Impact Strength: 25 J/m
  • Heat Deflection Temperature, HDT:
    • 50°C @ 66 PSI
    • 49°C @ 264 PSI
  • Flexural Strength: 68.7 MPa
  • Tensile Strength: 50.4 MPa
  • Consumer products
  • Fluid flow analysis
  • Ductwork
  • Investment casting
  • Lenses
  • Stereolithography (SLA)

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Somos® WaterClear Ultra 10122

Material: Clear SLA Material

Somos® WaterClear® is a fast, low-viscosity material specifically designed for colourless, functional parts; it offers excellent temperature resistance.

Full Description

This material provides refractive values similar to engineered plastics for functional testing in optical light transmission work. Recommended functional parts resembling acrylic with reduced finishing requirements.

  • Appearance: Optically clear, colourless
  • Viscosity: ~165 cps @ 30°C
  • Density: ~1.13 g/cm3 @ 25°C
  • Tensile Strength at Break: 56 MPa
  • Tensile Modulus: 2880 MPa
  • Elongation at Break: 7.5%
  • Flexural Modulus: 2490 MPa
  • Izod Impact (Notched): 25 J/m
  • Hardness, Shore D 87
  • HDT at 1.81 MPa – 264 psi
  • Water Absorption: 1.1%
  • Automotive lenses
  • Bottles
  • Lenses
  • Light pipes
  • Fluid flow analysis
  • Master patterns
  • Concept and functional models
  • Stereolithography (SLA)

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Somos® NeXt™

Material: Thermoplastic-like Performance

Somos NeXt™ offers the precision of stereolithography combined with a thermoplastic’s appearance, texture, and functionality.

Full Description

Upon completion, this material closely resembles conventional thermoplastics, boasting the robustness, resilience, and precision typically absent in stereolithography resins. Utilizing this distinctive material for 3D printing functional prototypes and testing applications can substantially save time, cost, and materials.

  • Appearance: White Colour
  • Tensile Strength: 42 MPa
  • Elongation at Break: 9%
  • Flex Modulus: 2470 MPa
  • Notched Izod: 50 J/m
  • HDT @ 0.46 MPa: 56 °C
  • Water Absorption: 0.4%
  • Automotive
  • Jigs & fixtures
  • Consumer products
  • Sports & Lifestyle
  • Packaging
  • Tough, functional end-use prototypes
  • Stereolithography (SLA)

Accura 25 3D Printed Vent

Accura® 25

Material: Polypropylene-like Material

Accura 25 is an easy-to-use SLA printing material that allows users to simulate the properties and aesthetics of molded polypropylene.

Full Description
  • Simulate the aesthetic of polypropylene
  • High flexibility and durability
  • Excellent resolution and accuracy
  • Master patterns for vacuum casting
  • Impact Strength: 19-24 J/m
  • Heat Deflection Temperature, HDT:
    • 58-63°C @ 66 PSI
    • 51-55°C @ 264 PSI
  • Flexural Strength: 55-58 MPa, ASTM D790
  • Tensile Strength: 38 MPa, ASTM D638
  • Hardness, Shore D 80
  • Snap-fit assemblies
  • Functional components for assemblies in automotive, consumer electronics
  • Simulate injection moulded parts
  • Concept and marketing models
  • Master patterns for RTV/silicone molding
  • Stereolithography (SLA)

Image of 3D-printed part produced with Accura 60 SLA resin

Accura® 60

Material: Hard, Clear Plastic Material

Accura® 60 plastic is a hard, clear plastic, with the aesthetics of molded polycarbonate (PC).

Full Description

What you get with Agile 60 3D-printed parts:

  • parts with the look & feel of polycarbonate
  • view internal features and passages
  • increase system throughput
  • minimize part cleaning and finishing
  • realize extended part-life
  • Tensile Strength: 58 – 68 MPa
  • Elongation at Break: 5 – 13%
  • Flexural Strength: 87 – 101 MPa
  • Flexural Modulus: 15 – 25 J/m (0.3 – 0.5 ft-lb/in)
  • Heat Deflection Temperature @264 psi: 48 – 50 °C (118 – 122 °F)
  • Hardness – Shore D 86
  • Tough functional prototypes
  • Automotive design components
  • Consumer electronics (cell phones etc.)
  • Medical instruments, devices and labware
  • Lighting components (lenses etc.)
  • Fluid flow and visualization models
  • Master patterns for urethane castings
  • QuickCast™ patterns for investment casting
  • Transparent assemblies
  • Clear display models
  • Concept and marketing models
  • Stereolithography (SLA)



Material: Formlabs® Durable Resin

Durable Resin is the most pliable, impact-resistant, and lubricious material from Formlabs® family of tough and durable materials.

  • Ultimate Tensile Strength:
    • Green: 13 MPa
    • Post-Cured: 28 MPa
  • Tensile Modulus:
    • Green: 0.24 GPa
    • Post-Cured: 1.0 GPa
  • Elongation at Failure:
    • Green: 75%
    • Post-Cured: 55%
  • Heat Deflection Temperature @ 0.45 MPa:
    • Green: < 30°C
    • Post-Cured: 41ºC

Green: Data was obtained from green parts, printed using Form 2, 100 μm, durable settings, without additional treatments.

Post-Cured: Data was obtained from parts printed using Form 2, 100 μm, durable settings and post-cured with a Form Cure for 120 minutes at 60 °C.


. It is ideal for squeezable parts and low-friction assemblies.

  • Pliable Prototyping
  • Impact resistant jigs
  • Low-friction and non-degrading surfaces
  • Polyethylene-like strength and stiffness
  • Stereolithography (SLA)

Tough 2000

Material: Formlabs® Tough 2000

Tough 2000 is the strongest and stiffest material in the Tough and Durable resins family. Ideal for prototyping, solid and sturdy parts that should not bend easily.


Material Properties:

  • Ultimate Tensile Strength:
    • Green: 29 MPa
    • Post-Cured*: 46 MPa
  • Elongation at Break:
    • Green: 74%
    • Post-Cured*: 48%
  • Flexural Strength:
    • Green: 17 MPa
    • Post-Cured*: 65 MPa
  • Flexural Modulus:
    • Green: 0.45 GPa
    • Post-Cured*: 1.9 GPa
  • Notched Izod:
    • Green: 79 J/m
    • Post-Cured*: 40 J/m
  • Heat Deflection Temperature @1.8 MPa:
    • Green: 42°C
    • Post-Cured*: 53°C

*Data was obtained from parts printed using Form 2, 100 μm, Tough 1500 settings and post-cured with a Form Cure for 60 minutes at 70°C.

  • Strong and stiff prototypes
  • ABS-like strength and stiffness
  • Sturdy jigs & fixtures
  • Stereolithography (SLA)


Rigid 10K

Material: Formlabs® Rigid 10K Resin

Rigid 10K Resin is our stiffest material that is ideal for precise industrial parts that need to withstand significant load without bending and benefit from resistance to heat and chemicals.

  • Ultimate Tensile Strength:
    • UV Cured*: 65 MPa
  • Flexural Strength:
    • UV Cured*: 126 MPa
  • Tensile Modulus:
    • UV Cured*: 10 GPa
  • Elongation at Break:
    • UV Cured*: 1%
  • Notched Impact:
    • UV Cured*: 16 J/m
  • Heat Deflection Temperature @ 1.8 MPa:
    • UV Cured*: 82ºC

*Data was obtained from parts printed using Form 3, 100 μm and post-cured with a Form Cure for 60 minutes at 70°C.

  • Short-run injection mold masters and inserts
  • Aerodynamic test models
  • Heat resistant and fluid-exposed components, jigs, and fixtures
  • Simulates stiffness of glass and fibre-filled thermoplastics
  • Stereolithography (SLA)

Tough 1500

Material: Formlabs® Tough 1500

Tough 1500 Resin is a resilient material certified for long-term skin contact that is ideal for stiff and pliable parts that bend and spring back quickly.

  • Simulates the strength and stiffness of polypropylene (PP)

Material Properties:

  • Ultimate Tensile Strength:
    • Green: 26 MPa
    • Post-Cured*: 33 MPa
  • Elongation at Break:
    • Green: 69%
    • Post-Cured*: 51%
  • Flexural Strength:
    • Green: 15 MPa
    • Post-Cured*: 39 MPa
  • Flexural Modulus:
    • Green: 0.44 GPa
    • Post-Cured*: 1.4 GPa
  • Notched Izod:
    • Green: 72 J/m
    • Post-Cured*: 67 J/m
  • Heat Deflection Temperature @1.8 MPa:
    • Green: 34°C
    • Post-Cured*: 45°C

*Data was obtained from parts printed using Form 2, 100 μm, Tough 1500 settings and post-cured with a Form Cure for 60 minutes at 70°C.

  • Springy prototypes and assemblies
  • Jigs and fixtures
  • Snap-fit and press-fit connectors
  • Wearables, personal protective equipment, and other consumer goods
  • Stiff, pliable biocompatible parts
  • Stereolithography (SLA)

Image shows build platform wuith Flame Retardant 3D printed parts by Formlabs

Flame Retardant (FR)

UL 94 V-0 Certified 3D Printed Parts with Great Quality and Heat Resistance

FR Resin is self-extinguishing and halogen-free with favourable flame, smoke, and toxicity (FST) ratings.


Mechanical Properties for Post-Cured @ 80°C / 120m:

  • Ultimate Tensile Strength: 41 MPa
  • Tensile Modulus: 3.1 GPa
  • Elongation at Break: 7.1%
  • Flexural Strength: 75 MPa
  • Flexural Modulus: 2.7 GPa
  • Notched Izod: 22 J/m

Thermal Properties:

  • Heat Deflection Temp. @ 0.45 MPa: 111°C
  • Coefficient of Thermal Expansion, 20°- 80°C: 68.1 μm/m/°C
  • Glass Transition Temperature (Tg): 144°C


  • UL 94: HB Classification*, 1.5 mm**

*HB-classification: slow burning on a horizontal specimen; burning rate < 76 mm/min for thickness < 3 mm or burning stops before 100 mm

**UL flammability rating bars were printed on Form 3+/Form 3 printers with 50µm Flame Retardant Resin settings, washed in a Form Wash for
(a) 10 minutes in ≥99% Isopropyl Alcohol or
(b) 15 minutes in ≥99% Tripropylene glycol monomethyl ether, with a quick water rinse, and then postcured at 70°C for 60 minutes in a Form Cure.
This rating can be achieved printing in any orientation and any available layer height on a Form 3, Form 3+, Form 3B, Form 3B+, Form 3L or Form 3BL.

  • Custom jigs, fixtures, and replacement parts for industrial environments with high temperatures or ignition sources
  • Interior parts in airplanes, automobiles, and railways with excellent surface finish
  • Protective and internal consumer or medical electronics components
  • Stereolithography (SLA)

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How SLA 3D Printing Works

Stereolithography (SLA) technology was the world’s first 3D printing technology, allowing engineers and designers to produce highly detailed prototypes that require tight tolerances and smooth surfaces. Even today, SLA remains an excellent option for 3D printing parts that will ultimately be painted or coated.

Low Force Stereolithography™ (LFS) is an improved SLA 3D printing technology developed by Formlabs®. It helps deliver excellent surface quality, accuracy, watertight results, and versatility in creating precise prototypes and end-use parts. Like other vat photopolymerization additive manufacturing processes, LFS exposes light-reactive thermoset materials to a laser to polymerize and create a solid part.

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