Ideas too large for a print bed?

Stereolithography, also known as SLA or SL for short, is the veteran of 3D printing technologies. It’s been around at Materialise since 1990, and continues to be one of the most widely-used rapid prototyping technologies for plastic models.

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How Does Stereolithography Work?

Stereolithography is a laser-based technology that uses a UV-sensitive liquid resin. A UV laser beam scans the surface of the resin and selectively hardens the material corresponding to a cross section of the product, building the 3D part from the bottom to the top. The required supports for overhangs and cavities are automatically generated, and later manually removed.

Why choose Stereolithography?

When you need a part printed yesterday and delivered right now, Stereolithography is what you want to be looking at. It’s a technology that produces great looking models with impeccable surface quality in no time. At Materialise, we’ve also developed our own patented Mammoth Stereolithography machines that let us build and ship parts in less than a day. And they even give you the freedom to 3D print parts up to 2 meters long in a single build.


Ideal applications for Stereolithography

  • Visual prototypes for photo shoots and market testing

  • “Show and tell” parts with smooth surfaces and fine details

  • Prototypes for limited functional testing

  • Masters for copying techniques such as Vacuum Casting

  • Alternatives for sheet metal prototypes when coated with a metal plating process

  • Patterns for investment casting

  • Low-volume production of complex geometries

Choose Stereolithography
When You Need…

  • Fast lead times, up to 24 hours
  • High accuracy and surface quality
  • Large single-build parts
  • Transparent parts

Technical Specifications for Stereolithography

Standard lead time Minimum of 3 working days (or 12 hours for models using the NextDay service at Materialise OnSite), depending on part size, number of components and finishing degrees
Standard accuracy ± 0.2% (with lower limit on ± 0.2 mm)
Sensitive to UV light (for example, direct sunlight)
Layer thickness Mammoth SL: 0.1 mm
Standard SL: 0.1 – 0.15 mm (varies by material)
NextDay SL: 0.15 – 0.2 mm (varies by material)
Minimum wall thickness 1 – 3 mm (depending on part dimensions)
Maximum build dimensions 2100 x 700 x 800 mm (offline orders)
1100 x 690 x 590 mm (online orders)
600 x 400 x 75 mm (NextDay orders)
Dimensions are unlimited as components may be composed of several sub-parts
Surface structure Unfinished parts typically have visible building layers on the surface but post-production finishes can achieve different effects, from high glosses to coarse textures. Stereolithography parts can be sandblasted, smoothed, colored/impregnated, painted, varnished, covered and coated

Materials for Stereolithography



Poly1500 is a translucent material with properties comparable to those of PP (polypropylene) and engineering plastics. Being impact-resistant and durable, this material is suited for rigid, functional prototypes in a large range of applications such as automotive components, electronic housings, snap-fit assemblies and medical products.


TuskXC2700T / Tusk2700W

These two variants of the Tusk2700 material are suitable for strong, water-resistant prototypes with ABS- and PBT-like specifications (e.g. parts for water flow analysis and wind tunnel testing). Other applications include functional prototypes and high-end finished models. TuskXC2700T is a transparent material with a slight blue tinge, while Tusk2700W is white.



Taurus is a charcoal black material with strong mechanical properties, including a high elongation at break and thermal resistance. Its black surface — or dark grey when sandblasted — is helpful in detecting surface imperfections, and Taurus exhibits high surface detailing and precision, making it an ideal choice for the aerospace and automotive industries. Suitable applications include functional prototypes and form-, fit- and function-testing.


Tusk Somos SolidGrey3000

Tusk SolidGrey3000 is the world’s first Stereolithography material that combines a high degree of stiffness with high impact resistance, and it is available exclusively at Materialise. Parts built with this material are not only robust, but highly functional as well, allowing them to be used in a wide variety of applications. Ideal applications include automotive body parts, machine covers, functional prototypes, durable concept models and robust scale models.



NeXt is an extremely durable resin, suited for very accurate parts with high feature detail, and for tough, complex parts with good moisture resistance and thermal properties. NeXt is ideal for functional prototypes and end-use performance parts like snap-fit designs, impellers, duct work, connectors, automotive housings and dashboard assemblies.


ProtoGen White

ProtoGen White is suitable for general purpose applications with ABS-like specifications. A resilient material with good surface quality and thermal properties, ProtoGen White is ideal for markets that demand accurate RTV (room temperature vulcanized) patterns, highly detailed parts and durable concept models. Applications include impellers, ductwork and connectors, automotive housings, dashboard assemblies and high-end finished models.



Xtreme is a resin with good all-round properties including high impact strength, high elongation at break and excellent surface quality. Xtreme is ideal for tough enclosures, snap-fit assemblies and replacing CNC machined parts. Owing to its surface quality, this material is also suitable for finished models with a high level of detail.



PerFORM produces strong, stiff parts with high thermal resistance, suitable for wind tunnel tests for aerospace and automotive applications. It exhibits superior sidewall quality, along with excellent detail resolution, which makes it ideal for metal plating purposes as well as rapid tooling for injection molding. Applications include wind tunnel testing, high temperature testing, automotive housings, electronic housings, and tooling for injection molding.



Element, developed together with pattern makers and foundries, creates exceptionally flawless investment castings. An antimony-free material, Element is suitable for high-end alloy castings with titanium and other super alloys. Paired with our Mammoth Stereolithography machines, Element produces accurate, repeatable parts regardless of size. Its low viscosity contributes to rapid draining. Patterns created with Element have lightweight, easily removable trace amounts of ash after burnout. This makes for a cleaner void in the ceramic mold, resulting in faster mold preparation and reduced risk of inclusions.

Need prototypes fast?

From your design to your desk in 24 hours. NextDay prototypes.

Deadlines matter. If you’re in a rush and need your prototypes ASAP, we offer you dedicated NextDay service using Stereolithography machines reserved for just that purpose. We can ensure lead times of under 1 working day for your most time-critical projects. Let’s put the ‘rapid’ back into rapid prototyping.

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