Many factors come into play when comparing the material properties of thermoplastics found in injection moulding versus “thermoplastic-like” materials used in an industrial-grade 3D printing technology like stereolithlography (SL).SL uses a thermoset liquid, not a thermoplastic, which is UV-cured in layers to form final parts. Because of this major difference in fabrication methods, material properties like tensile strength, heat deflection and flexure modulus may differ from SL’s more traditional counterpart. Furthermore, SL produces anisotropic properties where the values for X, Y, and Z axis may differ depending on the orientation of the build—a consideration unique to 3D printing processes.
At Proto Labs, a thorough selection of thermoplastic-like materials are offered through SL, but what may surprise you is the versatility and range of potential applications for SL parts. We’ll take you through each material and its properties, and compare them with one another (as well as with moulded plastics) to help you decide how to best implement SL.