Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

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Overview:  SLS provides the ability to generated complex geometry, highly accurate and durable parts that are suitable for use as functional parts.

Materials Used & Part Characteristics:  PA12 is the most common, but PA6 and PA11 are also common.  ABS, PC PMMA, POM and some TPU’s and compounds with additives are also available. Nylons offer strong, heat resistant and durable parts.

Where used:  SLS parts are routinely used to test form and function in prototypes or in low volume production.


The SSL Process

Watch the SSL Process

Manufacturing Process:

  • A fine layer (.004”) of powdered nylon is spread over the production bed.
  • A powerful laser selectively fuses a thin layer of the desired area of the part.
  • The production bed is lowered and a new layer of powder is spread over the production bed leaving a portion of the solid within the bed of powder. The surrounding unfused powder provides structural support as the bed is lowered and the part is built.  This supporting powder allows for complex geometries to be created without building secondary support structures during the manufacturing process.
  • The laser passes over the area and selectively fuses the next layer to the geometry of the part.
  • This process is repeated until the part geometry is completed.
  • The SLS part is removed from the bed of powder. The excess powder is brushed off and parts are bead blasted to provide a glean and smooth surface finish.

Finishing: Parts can be bead blasted to a fine texture, polished, painted and dyed.

Tolerances: Approximately 10% of the dimension. (0-100mm = .1mm, 100 – 300mm = .3mm, 300-600mm = .5mm). Tolerances for all processes are approximates as size, geometry, wall thickness, and material selection will impact manufacturing tolerances.