Selective laser sintering, or SLS, is a 3D printing technology that uses a laser to bind powdered materials such as plastic, metal, glass, or ceramics to create models, prototypes, and functional parts. It was first developed in the 1980s by Dr. Carl Deckard at the University of Texas.
To start the process, a blade spreads a thin layer of powder over the build platform. A laser then fuses a cross-section of the part together. The build platform lowers by one layer at a time as the process is completed until the build is complete. Any excess powder, which doubles as a sort of support structure, is then removed (and typically reused).
SLS 3D printing technology is particularly useful for producing complex features, organic shapes, and highly durable components. It produces parts with much finer details than other additive manufacturing technologies using high-strength plastics. It supports isotropic composition, ensuring that the final product has consistent strength and durability regardless of orientation during printing or use.
SLS 3D printing has a diverse range of applications across many industries.
|Advanced Laser Materials PA 602-CF||23% carbon-fiber-filled Nylon 12 optimized for stiffness and sustainable accuracy at elevated temperatures. Parts have a high-detail surface finish and fine-feature resolution.|
|Advanced Laser Materials PA 605-A||40% aluminum-filled Nylon 12 optimized for easy processing and as a drop-in replacement for comparable aluminum-filled materials. Produces parts with good thermal and mechanical properties as well as excellent strength and surface detail.|
|Advanced Laser Materials PA 606-FR||The only commercially available fire-retardant Nylon 12 that meets the FAR 25.853 60-second burn specification. Parts have a smooth surface finish, fine-feature resolution, and accurate, repeatable quality.|
|Advanced Laser Materials PA 620-MF||25% mineral-filled Nylon 12 optimized for easy processing and as a drop-in replacement for comparable fiber-filled Nylon 12s. Parts have a high-detail surface finish, good thermal resistance, and anisotropic mechanical properties.|
|Arkema Rilsan® Invent Natural||A high-performance polyamide with excellent powder bed fusion processing characteristics, impact resistance, elasticity, and ductility. Meets USP Class VI requirements.|
|EOS PA 2200 CarbonReduced||The property profile of durable white parts made from PA 2200 is very balanced: such parts are characterized by strength, rigidity, and good chemical resistance. They can be biocompatible and certified for contact with foodstuffs.|
|Stratasys Nylon 11 EX||Has elevated properties including high impact strength and elongation. Has fine feature detail and a smooth surface finish.|
|Stratasys Nylon 11 FR||Designed for use in commercial, military, and civil aircraft requiring fire-retardant parts. The material passes FAR 25.85315 and 60-second vertical burn tests. Also passes smoke and toxicity requirements. Parts exhibit excellent elongation (21% - 38%) with increased durability and greater flexibility over Nylon 12 parts.|
|Stratasys Nylon 12 GF||Offers increased modulus for more rigid parts with greater strength. The surface finish and fine feature details are very good, and heat deflection temperature (HDT) values are the best of the SLS prototype materials.|
|BASF Ultrasint TPU® 88A||A multi-purpose material that produces parts with a balanced property profile with good flexibility, shock absorption, and the possibility to print very fine structures with a high level of detail. The material is easy to print and has good UV and hydrolysis resistance.|
This table depicts the general tolerances for selective laser sintering (SLS). Stresses during the build and other geometry considerations may cause deviation in tolerances and flatness. Part designs with thicker geometries, flat or broad parts, and parts with uneven wall thicknesses may be prone to significant deviations or warp. Improved tolerances may be possible and must be approved on a case-by-case basis. General tolerances apply before secondary finishing or post-processing unless otherwise specified.
±0.010″ (0.254 mm) for the first inch (25.4 mm) is typical, plus ±0.002″ (0.0508 mm) for every inch thereafter
Up to 13″ x 13″ x 20″ (330.2 x 330.2 x 508 mm). Glass-filled materials can extend up to 26″ x 15″ x 23″ (660.4 x 381 x 584.2 mm)
Minimum feature size
>0.030″ (0.762 mm)
Standard layer thickness
0.0045″ (0.1143 mm)
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