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Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

SLS technology offers tremendous speed and volume for rapid prototyping 3D printing, with the ability to manufacture hundreds or even thousands of end parts at once via nesting.

Selective Laser Sintering

Selective laser sintering (SLS) is a powder-based additive manufacturing (AM) technique that uses the laser to fuse material layers into a final part.

Selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printing is trusted by engineers and manufacturers across different industries for its ability to produce strong, functional parts.

SLS is the technology of choice for various functional applications, including those with snap fits, living hinges and other mechanical joints. The material range and platform sizes available for SLS also make it a great option for the direct production of products requiring strength and heat resistance.

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What is Selective Laser Sintering used for?

If you want to improve your product development process, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) can help you. It has many advantages for designers and engineers. It could be a great opportunity to try out 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, TPU, PA 11, PA6, etc. You will have to choose the material properties that will fit your project. The applications for this 3D printing process are consumer products, architectural models, drones, robotics, special machinery, jewellery & watches, IoT devices, sports equipment, footwear, orthopaedic technology, education, medical devices, electronics housing, sculptures, jigs and fixtures, promotional items, and more. All parts you need, from functional prototyping to production, can be manufactured using this additive manufacturing technology.

This additive manufacturing technique allows you to create concept models and parts for functional tests. You can add surface finishes to your parts to get great final products. 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 for doing 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 moulding can’t compete with the short lead time that these SLS machines can provide. Moreover, at elimold, we offer many 3D printing materials and finishings to get good finished products.

Benefits of SLS 3D Printing

Laser Sintering is a great option when the geometric complexity of a part makes it difficult to produce through other processes or when the anticipated production volume doesn’t justify the time & expense of tooling.

 

  • Consistency & Reliability
    • Implementation of stringent, proprietary process controls and procedures for executing builds, maintaining equipment, and handling materials.
  • Production Parts
    • SLS is an affordable means to build durable, stable production parts in low volume. Also effective for high volumes of components when designs are too complex for traditional manufacturing to execute
  • Part Consolidation
    • With the ability to easily produce complex features, undercuts, and interior features, SLS can consolidate what once was a multi-part assembly into one part. SLS eliminates the need for separate fasteners, mounting components, and adhesives.
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Ready to get started on your Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D Printing quote?

Create components with tough mechanical properties & complex geometries.

What is the Difference Between SLS & SLA?

Stereolithography (SLA) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) are both additive manufacturing processes. SLA is a 3D printing method that uses a UV laser and a resin that can be cured by UV light. A single laser is directed to specific areas to cure resin and create a solid pattern. SLA is popular because it can print parts with greater precision than traditional Fuse Deposition Modeling (FDM) machines. SLS is another 3D printing process that uses a laser to melt, sinter, or fuse together particles, which results in a 3D printed part. SLS printers are commonly used for plastic, metal and ceramics. These materials are usually in powdered form. SLS does not require support as the unsintered powder around the part provides support. SLS has a broader range of materials available.

There are many differences between SLS and SLA. SLS machines use a very powerful laser; as such, they are entirely encased, blocking the view of the part as it is printed. SLA machines are typically enclosed in tinted glass or plastic, which allows the operator to view the part as it is built. SLS does not use toxic resins, and the powdered material is considered easier to work with. Objects made by SLA machines are complex and detailed but can be brittle. SLS parts are not as detailed but still complex and are considered suitable for mechanical use.

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Applications of SLS 3D Printing

Designers and engineers across numerous industries have used SLS printing in their product development process. While SLS can be used for prototyping, it is also used for functional, testing and production parts. Applications of SLS include:

  • Consumer Goods: SLS 3D printing has been used for consumer goods in the medical, footwear and beauty industries.
  • Sports: SLS has been used by motorsports companies to innovate vehicle design to increase performance.
  • Aerospace: Airline companies are incorporating lightweight SLS 3D parts on their aircraft, including air vent grills and other cabin components.
  • Tooling Production: Jigs, Fixtures & Other Tooling
  • Snap Fits & Living Hinges
  • Housings
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Why Choose elimold’s SLS 3D Printing Capabilities?

SLS has become popular among designers and engineers for many reasons. SLS allows for higher productivity, lower cost per part and design flexibility.

  • Higher Productivity: Multiple parts can be produced simultaneously, which maximizes the build space. The laser used during SLS has a quick scanning speed faster than other processes. Additional parts can be added to the build while it is already in production.
  • Lower Cost Per Part: Nylon is the most common material for SLS printing and is one of the least expensive when used in larger quantities. There are additional cost savings since the leftover powder can be reused, support structures are not required, and post-processing in SLS is less labor intensive.
  • Design Flexibility: Since SLS does not require support structures, there is an opportunity to produce parts with complex geometries, moving parts and pieces with interior components. SLS can also print a part that would usually require multiple elements as a single unit. This capability improves the design, saves the design and results in a lightweight part.
AMT PostPro3D Finishing

AMT’s PostPro3D technology is a smart, automated post-processing solution for smoothing SLS 3D-printed parts. PostPro3D achieves a high-quality surface finish that matches injection molding techniques using 3D printing processes. This enabling technology reduces lead-time, cost of manufacture, and operational and maintenance costs providing the ‘missing piece’ in the digital manufacturing chain. The PostPro3D machine makes 3D part surface finishing speed and cost competitive for high volume production.

Talk to an expert at Elimold today to take your parts to the next level using AMT PostPro3D for post-processing.

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SLS Finishes at Elimold

A sandblasting process and manual dedusting deduct SLS parts. If accessible, boreholes can be drilled to size. The finish is white matte (fine sugar cube).

Color choices of dyes black, blue, green, red or yellow. Lot-to-lot consistency may vary slightly, with black being the most consistent. Dye penetrates approximately 0.010 inches deep.

Automated post-processing technology (AMT PostPro3D) for high-quality surface finishes. Vapor Smoothing changes most surfaces from matte to semi-gloss. Vapor Smoothing also seals surfaces, enhances mechanical properties, and provides a consistent finish to production. The Vapor Smoothed part can be dyed.

Standard finish with added abrasive media tumbling. These parts will have fewer growth lines, and the tumbling process may soften sharp edges. The parts are left with an eggshell finish.

Standard finish with a secondary copper + nickel plating process adding 0.004″-0.006″ nickel coating. Nickel plating adds durability, stiffness, and wear resistance but is not considered cosmetic. The finish is rough nickel.

Elimold provides additional SLS finishing and customization options upon request.

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