Technology No. 3: SLA
What it is: Stereolithography (high-quality surface finishes and design accuracy). Also known as DLP: Digital Light Processing, a similar process that uses digital light processors instead of a laser to cure the resin.)
Inventors: Chuck Hull, 3D Systems
Materials: ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), PC (polycarbonate), and PP (polypropylene) plastics plus other materials such as clear and high-heat materials.
Process: An ultraviolet laser travels across a tray of liquid curable photopolymer resin. One thin layer at a time solidifies to the next layer as the build platform rises up from the tray. After object is printed, it's cleaned in a chemical bath and cured in a UV oven.
Price Range: $600 to $50,000
Systems Sold by: 3D Systems, Formlabs, Envisiontec (DLP) and ZCorp (DLP)