Design Guidelines: Stereolithography (SLA)

Our basic guidelines for stereolithography include important design considerations to help improve part manufacturability, enhance cosmetic appearance, and reduce overall production time.


Maximum Dimensions

NORMAL RESOLUTION 29 in. x 25 in. x 21 in.
HIGH RESOLUTION 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in.
MICRO RESOLUTION 5 in. x 5 in. x 2.5 in.
NORMAL RESOLUTION 736mm x 635mm x 533mm
HIGH RESOLUTION 254mm x 254mm x 254mm
MICRO RESOLUTION 127mm x 127mm x 63.5mm


Layer Thickness


Minimum Feature Size

NORMAL RESOLUTION 0.010 in. for the XY draw plane (0.016 in. for the Z build direction)
HIGH RESOLUTION 0.005 in. for the XY draw plane (0.016 in. for the Z build direction)
MICRO RESOLUTION 0.0025 in. for the XY draw plane (0.008 in. for the Z build direction)
NORMAL RESOLUTION 0.254mm for the XY draw plane (0.406mm for the Z build direction)
HIGH RESOLUTION 0.1016mm for the XY draw plane (0.406mm for the Z build direction)
MICRO RESOLUTION 0.0508mm for the XY draw plane (0.203mm for the Z build direction)

For well-designed parts, tolerances in the X/Y dimension of ±0.002 in. (0.05mm) for first inch plus ±0.001 in./in. (0.001mm/mm), and Z dimension tolerances of ±0.005 in. for first inch plus ±0.001 in./in. (0.001mm/mm), can typically be achieved. Note that tolerances may change depending on part geometry.

Design Essentials for 3D Printing

The 3D Printing Essentials reference guide offers guidelines and key considerations when designing for industrial 3D printing processes.

3D Printing Surface Finish Guide

Download this quick reference guide that looks at all of your surface finish options across our six additive manufacturing technologies.



Surface Finishes

UNFINISHED Dots, or standing"nibs," remain evident on the bottom of the part from the support structure remnants.
Supported surfaces are sanded down to eliminate the support nibs.
STANDARD Supported surfaces are sanded, and the entire part is finely blasted for a consistent look. Note that the layers are still present.
Soft-touch paint, clear part finishing, painting, masking, color matching, decals/graphic, and texture finishes are available.
Technician applying clear coat to SLA part

Special Operations

Metal Plating

Our metal-plating process for SLA coats a ceramic-filled PC-like material (Somos PerFORM) with a nickel that gives parts the look, feel, and strength of metal, but without the weight. The combination of the material’s strength, rigidity, and temperature resistance with nickel plating, takes strength, stiffness, and impact and temperature resistance to a degree previously unattainable in SLA parts.


Our microfluidic fabrication process is a modified form of high-resolution SLA that uses a clear ABS-like material (WaterShed XC 11122). Parts are resistance to water and humidity, and work well for lens and flow-visualization models.

Custom Finishing

Custom finishing is a mix of science, technology, and fine art that can transform a part to your exact specifications. Finishes include:

  • Soft-touch paint
  • Clear part finishing
  • Paint finishes
  • Masking
  • Color matching
  • Decals/graphic
  • Texture


Our stereolithography machines consists of Vipers, ProJets, and iPros. In high-resolution mode, Vipers and ProJets can make parts with extremely tiny features and crisp details, while in normal-resolution mode, they can build cost-effective parts very quickly.

iPros have extremely large build volumes at 29 in. by 25 in. by 21 in. (736mm by 635mm by 533mm), yet are still able to image highly detailed parts easily.

a row of large-format stereolithography machines

applications engineers discuss 3D printing CAD model

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