What is MSLA 3D Printing?

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Updated February 3, 2023

If you are new to the world of physical printing, you may wonder what is MSLA 3D printing. Some of the best printers, after all, are 3D printers. MSLA is a popular sub-type that uses masked stereolithography. Using liquid resin and UV light, these printers can create an object faster than filament-based models. So what exactly is MSLA printing, and what are some advantages to this printing method? Keep reading to find out.


  • MSLA stands for masked stereolithography and is a 3D printing process that uses liquid resin to create prints.
  • The process is similar to standard SLA printing, but with the addition of ultraviolet light for curing entire layers at once, even with larger models.
  • MSLA printers are known for creating a smooth surface finish and for offering a high-grade resolution due to the light source.

Before learning about SLA 3D printing and MSLA printing, it is helpful to learn a bit about how 3D printers work. These machines create 3D objects layer by layer using a wide range of materials, even if you are still learning about LCD printers. The materials are extruded via a nozzle, in most cases, and laid upon a print bed as the object is built.

Insider Tip

No matter which printer you buy, make sure to purchase an adequate amount of liquid resin for completing print jobs.

What is MSLA Printing?

MSLA stands for masked stereolithography and, as the name suggests, is a sub-category of garden variety stereolithography. In other words, MSLA printers use liquid resin, and not filament, to create 3D models. MSLA printers up the ante by using an ultraviolet UV LED light array to cure an entire layer at once, making this type of printing much faster than filament-based printers and slightly faster than standard SLA printers.

Benefits of MSLA Printing

MSLA is a relatively new technology that leverages a tried-and-true technology (SLA printing.) With that said, there are many advantages to going with one of these MSLA printers.


Despite being a relatively new technology with an advanced feature set, MSLA printers are relatively budget-friendly, with some models costing as little as a few hundred bucks. This also extends to the resin, with affordability being the name of the game.

Smooth Surface Finish

Just like standard SLA printers, MSLA printers are wizards when it comes to creating smooth surface finishes of finished objects. This drastically reduces the need for post-processing and additional curing.

STAT: The word “stereolithography” comes from the Greek words “stereo,” meaning solid, and “(photo)lithography,” which is a form of ‘writing’ with light. Stereolithography with your 3D printer does exactly that: drawing solids with light one layer at a time. (source)

Decent Resolution

Even the most budget-friendly MSLA printers offer a wide range of resolution options to suit the needs of many consumers. This translates to high-quality objects that look great and feel great.

MSLA Printing FAQs

What equipment do I need with a resin printer?

The printer ships with the laser beam required to make prints, though you may have to purchase a dedicated resin tank to hold your photosensitive resin and other building materials.

Do MSLA printers produce better parts?

This is one of the more future-proof 3D printing technologies out there and should produce better parts than some other types of resin printers, though it depends on the object being printed.

What is the difference between MSLA and SLA printers?

MSLA printers use an LCD screen to mask the backlight of the UV projection unit, thus the name. This refines the laser beam and allows for more accurate models with higher resolutions, which is the purview of LCD resins.
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