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Material Selection for Stereolithography (SLA) 3D Printing

When comparing the material properties of thermoplastics used in injection molding with "thermoplastic-like" materials used in an industrial 3D printing technology such as stereolithography (SLA), many factors come into play.

SLA is a 3D plastic printing process that uses a thermoset liquid (not a thermoplastic) that is cured layer-by-layer with UV light to produce the final parts. Because of this major difference in manufacturing processes, material properties such as tensile strength, heat deflection temperature, and flexural modulus may differ from those of the traditional SLA counterpart. In addition, SLA produces anisotropic properties where the X, Y, and Z axis values can be different depending on the orientation of the part - a consideration unique to 3D printing processes.

As part of our 3D printing service, we offer a comprehensive selection of thermoplastic SLA materials. What will surprise you, however, is the versatility and range of potential applications for SLA parts. In the following tables and diagrams, we introduce each material and its properties, and compare them to each other (as well as to injection-molded plastics) to help you decide how best to implement SLA.


 The versatility and range of applications for 3D-printed SLA parts may surprise you.

Polycarbonate-like materials

Advanced High Temp (Accura 5530), a PC-like material, is best suited for parts that require strength and stiffness combined with high temperature resistance, such as automotive or under-the-hood electrical components. Thermal post-cure can further improve the heat deflection temperature of the part, but at the expense of durability. Note that thermal post-curing will cause the color of the part to take on a slightly amber hue.

White ceramic-like material

Ceramic-like White (Advanced High Temp PerFORM) is widely used for automotive housings, electrical enclosures, wind tunnel testing and other components requiring heat resistance and strength. It combines superior heat tolerance with strength and stiffness. Thermal post-hardening can further improve mechanical properties and heat resistance, but the material then becomes more brittle.

 Test method

PC-like Advanced High Temp (Accura 5530)

PL Lexan 940 (injection molded)

Ceramic-like White (Advanced High Temp PerFORM)

Water absorptionDIN EN 120 62

0.55 ± 0.15%

(20 ºC, 50 % relative humidity)

24 Std.: 0,15 %
  Balance23 ºC: 0,35 %
   Balance100 ºC:; 0,58 %

0.35 ± 0.15%

Young's modulus (x-y plane)DIN EN ISO 527*3,400 ± 400 MPa--10,000 ± 1,000 MPa
Tensile strength (x-y plane)DIN EN ISO 527*50 ± 10 MPa

Yield: 8,990 psi/62.0 MPa
Break: 7,980 psi/55.0 MPa

70 ± 10 MPa

Elongation at break (x-y plane)DIN EN ISO 527*3 ± 2%90%1.5 ± 1%

Diagram 1: Two PC-like materials and an injection-molded PC thermoplastic are compared in four material property categories.

*Test speed 10 mm/min.

ABS-like materials

ABS-like Black (Accura Black 7820) has high strength and good dimensional stability, even under high humidity. The material is black in color and is widely used for automotive parts, consumer packaging, electrical enclosures and toys due to its impact resistance and ease of post-processing, which gives the overall impression of production quality.

MicroFine™ is a Richconn exclusive material that can be used to produce extremely intricate micro resolution structures. MicroFine™ is available in green and gray. Layer thicknesses of 0.025 mm and structure sizes of 0.07 mm are possible with MicroFine™ to enable applications that require parts with volumes less than 25x25x25 mm³.

ABS-like translucent/transparent material (Somos Watershed XC 11122) is a strong, durable, ABS-like material with low moisture absorption. It is virtually colorless and mimics a clear engineering plastic. Because of its high transparency, Watershed is a perfect material for prototyping lenses, flow visualization models, and microfluidics. Note that post-processing is required to make the material functionally transparent. Watershed retains a very slight light blue hue afterward.

ABS-like White (Accura Xtreme White 200) provides strength and durability and is well suited for applications requiring flexible snap-fit joints. Note that ABS-like White (Accura Xtreme White 200) has the lowest heat deflection temperature of the SLA materials offered by Richconn.


ABS-like Black (Accura Black 7820)

MicroFine™ABS-like translucent/transparent (Watershed XC 11122)

ABS-like White (Accura XTREME White 200)

ABS Bayblend FR 110 (injection molded)

Water absorption

0.25 ± 0.15%0.85% ± 0.15%
(ASTM DS70-98)
0.35 ± 0.15%0.65 ± 0.15%0.050% 23 ºC
Modulus of elasticity (x-y plane)
 DIN EN ISO 527*
3,000 ± 400 MPa--2,900 ± 400 MPa3,300 ± 400 MPa--
Tensile strength (x-y plane)
 DIN EN ISO 527*
55 ± 10 MPa60 ± 10 MPa
(ASTM D638M)
55 ± 10 MPa55 ± 10 MPa

Yield strength: 60 MPa
 Fracture: 49.6 MPa

Elongation at break (x-y plane)
 DIN EN ISO 527*
5 ± 3%8 ± 4%
(ASTM D638M)
6 ± 3%9 ± 5%>50%

Chart 2: Four ABS-like materials and an injection-molded ABS thermoplastic are compared in four material property categories.

*Test speed 10 mm/min.

Genuine silicone material

Typically used in healthcare (e.g., for prostheses, earplugs, or wearables) and other industries (e.g., automotive or engineering) for products such as seals, hoses, and gaskets. This material is biocompatible and has passed ISO DIN EN 10993-05 (tests for in vitro cytotoxicity) and ISO DIN EN 10993-10 (tests for irritation and skin sensitization) certifications. The material has high resistance to harsh environmental conditions, various acids, bases and non-polar solvents. The printed parts are water repellent, insulating and have high gas permeability.

  Elastosill R 3003/30 A/B LSRElastosill R 3003/50 A/B LSREchtes Silikonmaterial A60Elastosill 3003/60 A/B TransparentElastosill 3003/70 A/B Transparent
Technology Injection moldingInjection molding3D printingInjection moldingInjection molding
Shore A hardness-3050606070
Tensile strengthN/mm37.59.989.58.6
Elongation at break%620480360340290
Tensile strengthN/mm2329172720
Rebound resilience%6162>806771
Compression set%1013<151212

Real silicone compared to LSR Elastosill Shores.

PropertyTest methodValue
Shore A hardnessISO 7619-120355060
DensityISO 1183-1 A1.05 g/cm31.08 g/cm31.11 g/cm31.13g/cm3
Tensile strength (x-y plane)ISO 37 Type 44.9 N/mm25.5 N/mm27.25 N/mm28.5 N/mm2
Elongation at break (x-y plane)>1000%650%530%360%
Tensile strengthASTM D624 Type C5.8 N/mm10 N/mm11 N/mm17 N/mm2
Rebound resilienceISO 4662>80%>80%>80%>80%
Compression setDIN ISO 815-1 Type B<25%<20%<20%<20%

The different true silicone shores available from Protolabs and how they compare.

The various true silicone shores available from Richconn and how they compare.

Material property comparison charts

The following charts compare different thermoplastic materials suitable for SLA printing in terms of various material properties: Tensile Strength, Elongation at Break, Water Absorption, and Young's Modulus.

Tensile strength

Elongation at break

 Water absorption

Young's modulus

Concluding remarks

Unlike thermoplastics, UV light and moisture will alter the appearance and mechanical properties of SLA materials if they are not protected by coating or painting. Over time, warpage, yellowing and brittleness of some parts may occur. SLA parts are not intended for long-term use in many cases, but it can be useful to have the short-term benefits of highly detailed mold and fit parts in mind for early prototyping.

You should work closely with 3D printing experts to select the right material for your project and ensure that the build orientation is optimized for your part applications. Check out our guide to 3D printing materials for a comprehensive overview of additive materials, both plastic and metal, for all technologies.

Deepen your knowledge of stereolithography at If you have any questions about 3D printing or our services, contact an application engineer at or +86-0755-28025755.

Already created a design for 3D printing? Upload it now and request an instant quote.

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