SLS (Selective Laser Sintering): 3D Printing Powder-based Process


Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is an Additive Manufacturing method that uses a powder bed fusion process to build 3D parts. This additive manufacturing technology can be used both for rapid prototyping and production.

The Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process

The Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process uses aP powdered polymer build material, typically nylon, is transferred from containers holding fresh powder material onto the build stage in the process chamber with a recoating tool. A highpower laser then selectively scans the thin layer of powder, sintering together powder particles in the shape of the cross-section of the first layer of the 3D part. The build platform then descends one layer depth and the recoater transfers more fresh powder from the hopper to the surface of the first layer. Just like the first layer, the second cross-section of the 3D model is scanned and sintered. The laser scanning process simultaneously generates the current layer and adjoins it to the previous layer, making a solid part.

Compared to other additive manufacturing processes such as stereolithography (SLA) and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) does not require support structures since the powder acts as self supporting material. This allows intricate and complex geometries to be constructed.

What can you do thanks to Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) ?

If you want to improve your product development process, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) can totally help you. It has many advantages for designers and engineers . It could be a great opportunity to try efficient designs and manufacturing processes for your projects.

When 3D printing with the Selective Laser Sintering process, you can use different materials such as Nylon PA12 , Alumide , Carbonmide , PEBA . You we'll have to choose the material properties that will fit your project. The applications for this 3D printing process are designs with moving parts, prototypes, consumer products, architectural models, hardware, electronics housing, medical devices , sculptures,

jigs and fixtures, promotional items and more. Thanks to this additive manufacturing technique, you will be able to create concept models, parts for functional tests. You will have the choice between great production and prototyping materials. You will even be able to add surface finishes on your parts to get great final products.

For example, it is possible to prototype complex designs with this additive manufacturing technology. You can do as many iterations as you want to improve your product design , you just have to modify your 3D file.

This 3D printing technology is great to do some rapid prototyping , but also for production. Rapid manufacturing is one of the most interesting advantages of the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process. Traditional manufacturing techniques such as injection molding can't compete with the short lead time that these SLS machines can provide. Moreover, at Sculpteo, we are offering a lot of 3D printing materials and finishings to get good finished products.

FDM and SLS technologies are often used for the same kind of printing, if you want to know which one is best suited for your need, have a look to our comparision FDM vs. SLS.

3D Systems sPro 230 EOS Formiga P110 EOS INT P760
One of 5 printers in the Production line of SLS 3D printers.
One of 4 plastic SLS 3D printers from EOS.
One of 4 plastic SLS 3D printers from EOS.

For more information about the 3D printers, please check out our Guide to Professional 3D Printers .

As you can see, the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) printing technology is good to work on many different projects. Indeed, SLS 3D printing can help you to prototype any projects. Digital manufacturing is allowing to work on functional prototyping , and it could clearly improve you product development process .

For more information on this and other 3D printing techniques, we invite you to consult our 3D printing techniques pagesWhen choosing your 3D printing material to give life to your CAD files, be sure to check the design guidelines of all the materials before starting to 3D print.

You already have an STL file and you want to 3D print it? Upload your 3D file on our online 3D printing service . and get your 3D printed parts thanks to the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process.