Polymerization shrinkage and thermal cooling effect have been identified as two major factors that lead to the curl distortion in the stereolithography apparatus (SLA) process. In this paper, the photocuring temperature during the building process of mask image projection-based stereolithography (MIP-SL) and how it affects parts' curl distortion are investigated using a high-resolution infrared (IR) camera. Test cases of photocuring layers with different shapes, sizes, and layer thicknesses have been designed and tested. The experimental results reveal that the temperature increase of a cured layer is mainly related to the layer thickness, while the layer shapes and sizes have little effect. The photocuring temperatures of built layers using different exposure strategies including varying exposure time, grayscale levels, and mask image patterns have been studied. The curl distortions of a test case based on various exposure strategies have been measured and analyzed. It is shown that, by decreasing the photocuring temperature of built layers, the exposure strategies using grayscale levels and mask image patterns can effectively reduce the curl distortion with the expense of increased building time. In addition to curl distortion control, the photocuring temperature study also provides a basis for the curl distortion simulation in the MIP-SL process.

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