3D printers with SLA technology captivate with their magnificent print resolution and massively fallen prices. We show which printers are worth buying.
For tabletop figures or other small and highly detailed printed products, 3D printers that work with viscous resin are much more suitable than the widespread and even cheaper devices with filament melting technology (FDM). The reason is the very high print resolution; but you have to deal with smelly chemicals. If you are not afraid to work with liquid resin and isopropanol, you can get printers suitable for beginners from 180 euros.
SLA stands for Stereolithography, Such printers work according to a simple principle: A UV light source exposes liquid resin through a high-resolution display and cures it in layers at the desired locations. At 0.01 to 0.2 mm, the individual layers are so thin that they are barely visible to the eye. For comparison: cheap FDM printer build models from layers between 0.1 and 0.4 millimeters from molten plastic.
The catch with the SLA technology: The installation space is comparatively small, so you cannot print large models. In addition, handling resin and cleaner is annoying and the printing material is more expensive than the filament rolls for FDM printers.
The following articles have been published on the subject of 3D printers:
Branded product or unknown manufacturer
Our list of SLA printers contains only two well-known branded products. The reason for this is the extreme price difference and the, at least on paper, very similar equipment. Printers from Xyzprinting or Formlabs are more than 1000 euros more expensive than the cheap China models. As our test of the SLA printer Elegoo Mars shows (test report), cheap doesn’t have to mean bad. We were pleasantly surprised by the 250 euro model, and the annoying handling of the resin is not yet completely relieved of the devices in the 1000 euro class.