Selective Laser Sintering
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is an additive manufacturing process that builds parts by using a laser to selectively sinter (heat and fuse) a plastic powdered material.
The SLS process
The process begins with a 3D CAD file, which is mathematically sliced into 2D cross sections. With the base platform at the top of the build volume, a blade pushes powder material from the powder supply to create a uniform layer over the build piston. The laser system then draws the 2D cross section on the surface of the build material, sintering the material. The base platform is lowered and the blade sweeps a new layer of material on top of the previous layer. The next 2D cross section is drawn (which connects to the previous layer) and the process repeats itself until the object is complete.
This layer-by-layer manufacturing process allows for the direct fabrication of complex parts that would be cost-prohibitive, if not impossible, to produce through traditional manufacturing processes. For example, interior features, undercuts and negative draft are not an issue for SLS fabrication. Because the SLS parts are built in a bed of powder they do not require any support structures. This gives the ability to create assemblies that are printed as one single object. Another benefit of this process is the ability to use the product immediately after cooling with minimal post production input.
What you need to know
- Plastic, tough, functional, flexible prototype models
- Versatile applications
- Fully functioning assemblies
- 0.1mm layers
- High temperature resistant (up to 150°C)
- Suitable for snap fits/ living hinges
- Can be coloured
- PS 2200 material data
- Build envelope 19omm x 240mm x 300mm
Check the Shapeways website for 3D printing and design tutorials, and a list of free and commercial 3D modeling software.