Depending on the source, DLP is either claimed to be parallel to SLA (and SLA means laser curing only), or, DLP is claimed to be one of SLA methods, i.e. a subclass of SLA.

How is it?
A: Does stereolithography (=SLA) include both laser curing and projector curing (i.e. “Digital Light Processing” = DLP)


B: does stereolithography (=SLA) mean only laser curing?


Hey @3Dragon, SLA and DLP are in fact two different printing methods that fall under Vat photo-polymerization technology. DLP is not a subclass of SLA. Our handy infographic on different 3D printing technology is a great way to distinguish between different methods, or check out this snapshot:

Hope this helps!

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SLA(stereolithography) is the oldest method of 3d printing, invented in 1983 by Chuck Hull(considered the “father of 3d printing”), and was originally done with a laser.
DLP is a more recent method but is still considered SLA.
Since the laser method came first, these machines are usually just called SLA while a machine that uses a projector can be called, SLA, DLP, or DLP SLA.
So, laser is the original SLA and DLP is a type of SLA.


Here we are… asad3D voted for “B”, and Jesse (a.k.a MindFull) voted for “A”. More arguments will be needed to solve this.

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I would use 3dhubs resources as a general reference/starting point. It’s often oversimplified/generalized for consumer consumption.
DLP(digital light processing) is a type of projector. Nothing more.
Lithography means printing. When Chuck Hull created the term “stereolighography” he intended it to mean 3d printing in general(specifically in layers). So if want to to be real technical, just about ALL 3d printers are “SLA”. Curing resin with UV got the name by default because it was the first.
“vat photopolymerization” is certainly an accurate description but try searching for SLA instead and tell me which seems like the industry accepted nomenclature(which I believe is what the OP is asking about).


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I agree with Jesse. DLP & CLIP are specific types of SLA processing, not separate processes (despite what Carbon3D would like us to believe).

Although technically they are all officially defined as Vat Photopolymerization by ASTM. According to ASTM there are 7 classifications for Additive Manufacturing:

  1. Vat Photopolymerization (SLA, DLP, CLIP)
  2. Material Extrusion (aka FDM, FFF, PJP, etc)
  3. Material Jetting (Polyjet, MJP)
  4. Powder Bed Fusion (SLS, SLM, DMLS)
  5. Directed Energy Deposition
  6. Binder Jet
  7. Sheet Lamination
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On man… first you say that CLIP and DLP are sub classes of SLA and then “Vat Photopolymerization (SLA, DLP, CLIP)” you raise DLP and CLIP to the same level than SLA (making the reader to think that “SLA” means Laser curing VAT Photopolymerization method). Well, that must be a mistake, I’m quite convinced I understand t what you mean.
“Laser-SLA” seems to have no acronym, so that the correct way to express that could be something like Vat Photopolymerization (“Laser-SLA”, DLP, CLIP)…

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Haha sorry for the confusion, I see now how you read my post. I didn’t mean to raise DLP and CLIP to be the same level as SLA. I was merely indicating that when you hear any of those acronyms they should all be associated with Vat Photopolymerization.

I’m in agreement with what Jesse said, which is that in the industry SLA is generally used to describe any Vat Photopolymerization process, including laser and DLP. When you go to trade shows or talks, SLA is the standard nomenclature, used synonymously with Vat Photopolymerization. DLP and CLIP are only used in discussion when somebody wants to discuss specifics on how the curing and peeling steps are performed.

Hope that clears it up

Yeah, I think we have mutual understanding now, to my eyes the writing just seemed a bit funny…

and what about the 3D Printers with LCD screen and UV ligth. Is very different method from Laser to cure the resin but isn’t DLP. I think SLA is a good term for LCD UV printer and aldo the SLA with Laser to cure the resin.