• June 21, 2024
  • Shatou, Changan, Dongguan, CN
Laser Sintering

What is selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printing?

SLS 3D printing technology can be used without a support structure and with a variety of materials that can yield high-temperature soul and good mechanical properties.

How SLS 3D printing works

SLS 3D printing works on a very simple principle.

The technique uses laser beams to stack powdered materials layer by layer, similar to other 3D printing techniques. Each layer of material is scanned and bonded with the upper and lower layers to build the 3D model. The model is then removed from excess powder material and post-processed to get the final product.

Materials and appearance of SLS 3D printers

SLS 3D printing machines usually consist of a laser, a scanning mirror and an architecture table combined. The architecture table is a movable platform on which the 3D-printed parts are held stationary. Underneath the architecture table, there is a heating unit to melt and cure the powdered material.

Materials needed for SLS 3D printing

SLS 3D printing needs to use a variety of powder materials, which are usually composite materials composed of multiple metal or plastic materials. Common choices are thermoplastic materials such as nylon elastomers and plexiglass.

Benefits of SLS 3D printing

  1. Using SLS 3D printing technology can achieve design optimization without support structures.
  2. More flexible than fusible deposition molding (FDM) and light-curing molding (SLA) technologies.
  3. Higher mechanical strength and hardness of manufactured parts.
  4. The higher surface quality of manufactured parts.
  5. More materials can be used, covering many plastics, metals and composites.
  6. The size of manufactured products may reach several meters.

Limitations of SLS 3D printing

  1. Handling composite parts can be difficult.
  2. High-temperature storage devices are required.
  3. SLS 3D printers are more expensive to purchase and set up.
  4. Parts are prone to warpage or production stitching or poorer detail and surface finish.

Application areas of SLS 3D printing

SLS 3D printing technology can be applied in industries such as medical, automotive, marine and aviation.

SLS 3D printing for small-batch production

SLS 3D printing technology is capable of supporting low-volume production as it utilizes multiple materials, allowing quick changeover and production. Compared with traditional production processes, SLS 3D printing can quickly produce small quantities of parts, and allows design adjustments and modifications at any time. To increase productivity, machine operators must be trained, machine adjustments made, and production submissions created.

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