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Is SLA in my future?

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When Prusa announced their SLA offering, the type of printing where models are pulled out of resin with lasers, I was excited. I thought SLA printing was the end goal when I started with FDM printers.

The Prusa SL1

Prusa has released their SL1 and here is a video demonstrating using the Prusa SLA printer by De3dPrintman. This video made me aware of how messy and toxic the resin is and that setup and cleanup are part of every print.

I selected PETG filament because it is friendly to print with and there are no concerns of toxins. With FDM printing preparation is a quick wipe of the bed with alcohol on a cloth and you just turn off the printer when you are done.

So why go SLA? The primary reasons for SLA are resolution and speed. If you take advantage of the resolution the speed advantage is lost so the final answer is for detail.

Do I need Another Printer?

After my Original Prusa MK3 arrived I purchased a couple cheap clones for comparison and to experience CoreXY design.

I’ve found cheap clones are good for developing trouble shooting skills because you spend all your time dealing with issues and upgrading to improve their print quality and ease of use.

My Original Prusa MK3 has always printed without issues and the support is amazing. When Prusa upgrades I just print some parts to stay current.

My ever reliable MK3S coupled with their Multiple Materials Unit has become my desktop printing solution. In addition to traditional FDM printing I have been able to explore designing with multiple materials.

In comparison an SLA printer is:

  • single material
  • more expensive to purchase, operate, and maintain
  • has a small build plate
  • involves working with toxic chemicals
  • is a much more involved process

I would consider the Prusa SL1 printer because I don’t think you can go wrong with a Prusa but as cool as the idea is, I do not need another printer.

Summary

I was fascinated with SLA printing long before I got serious about 3D printing. Now there is an SLA printer available from a source I trust and I cannot think of any reason I need higher resolution. Until I have a need for higher resolution I am not going to mess with resins.

In conclusion I’ve seen enough to say “I do not see an SLA printer in my future.”

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