Advantages And Disadvantages Of Stereolithography

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Charles W. Hull coined the term “stereolithography” and patented the method of the same as well in the year 1986. According to Charles, “stereolithography is the method of making solid objects by successively laying down thin layers of ultraviolet curable material one layer at a time through the use apparatus”. 3D SYSTEM INC. which is based in Rock Hill, South Carolina was the first company to generalize and commercialize the procedure. Charles entitled the patent as “APPARATUS FOR PRODUCTION OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL OBJECTS BY STEREOLITHOGRAPHY” in his U.S. patent 4,575,330.

The fundamental concept used in the process of stereolithography is forming of solid polymer by the use of photosensitive liquid when exposed to ultraviolet light.
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This method being beneficial in nature is used in numerous industrial applications. Few of the advantages are listed –
• Parts can be made in a short duration of time. Tuning and modifications in the design can be done easily because of its allowance for quick turn. Hence can be used for demonstration purpose as well.
• High level of design which results in very smooth surface and the designs will be ultra accurate.
• Complex design and geometrical configurations can be met.
• Size of the part is not a problem. Low volume products can also be created easily.
• Numerous options for material selection which is the vital advantage.
Being a very beneficial tool in the production field it is not without its negative. Some of the cons of the method are listed-
• The photo sensitive polymer used in the process is quite expensive ($300-$500).
• Parts with enclosed and hollow structure are difficult to make as the liquid may get trapped inside the enclosed body during building.
• The apparatus size limits the maximum size of the part that can be produced. Generally the maximum size of the part that can be produced is
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