Stereolithography (SLA) is a "rapid-prototyping" process which
produces a physical, three dimensional object from a 3D CAD file.
A stereolithography machine uses a computer controlled laser to cure
a photo-sensitive resin, layer by layer, to create the 3D part.
Recent improvements in the stereolithography manufacturing equipment
allows prototypes to be made in a matter of days, with little regard
to the complexity of the design.
VB does not provide built-in features specifically related to generating
SLA design files, but you can write custom code to generate the files.
The defacto file format is .STL - and consists of triangles which
approximate the surface of your design. Both ASCII and Binary file
formats are used. File format and sample files are available at ...
Almost all of today's CAD systems (i.e., AutoCAD, ProE, ...) are capable
of producing an STL file. For the user the process is often as simple
as selecting File, Save As, STL. When possible you should save your STL
file as a Binary file to save processing time and reduce file size.
I've included an .STL file format export features in my own 3D design
program, WinPlace. So far I've not
found any public source code, or OCXs, which can generate the .STL files
automatically - but I'm looking. If you're aware of any such options,
please let me know! You can reach me at: