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From 3D Model to Finished Part: SLA 3D Printing in 15 Stages

From 3D Model to Finished Part: SLA 3D Printing in 15 Stages

3D printing is a lot more than just pressing print on a machine, it's a multistage process that starts with a 3D model on a computer and ends with a sleek part with perfect dimensions. This guide will walk you through each of the steps that goes into producing an industrial-quality 3D printed part. The process isn't as complex as some people imagine and can be summarized in roughly 15 stages. Let's take a quick look at each of them in turn.

1. Importing and processing the 3D model

Before any printing can take place a detailed 3D model is required. This is similar to traditional techniques such as CNC machining, but there are key differences in how the files are prepared and the type of analysis required. The file is imported into 3D modeling software and after a period of analysis a meeting will take place to discuss optimizations. These changes are usually very small and are aimed at making the model easier to print. Sometimes printing a fully solid part is undesirable due to weight and material waste, so in such cases the technician will add drainage holes to the 3D model which will allow uncured resin to flow out, giving a part which is lightweight and hollow.


  • Ma Qing Lu, Haicang Qu, Xiamen Shi, Fujian Sheng, China
  • Vistar (ProtoFab) 3D Printing