Solid State Lasers for Stereolithography
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Stereolithography is a Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing (RP&M) technique which is used to produce 3 dimensional plastic parts directly out computer files generated by CAD. Stereolithography systems use ultraviolet lasers to solidify liquid resin into the desired form as defined by the CAD file. In recent years, solid state laser technology has reached the point where it can be applied to stereolithography (SL). Frequency tripling of the powerful lines of diode pumped NdlYAG, Nd/YV04, and Nd/YLF lasers results in wavelengths of 355 nm (YAG, YV04), 351 nm (YLF), and 349 nm (YLF). All these lines are applicable for SL. Commercial diode pumped lasers with tens or even hundreds milliwatts in the ultraviolet are already available. Efficient frequency tripling of the Nd/YAG, Nd/YV04 , or Nd/YLF lasers requires pulsed operation. The pulse repetition rates at maximum average power are typically between 1 and 30 kHz. This talk describes the issues relating to the applications of pulsed all solid state lasers in SL.