What is SLS?
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a rapid additive prototyping process that, starting from a 3D file generated by a CAD software, uses a high-power laser to selectively melt and aggregate thermoplastic polymer powders in horizontal layers of 120 µm.
During the sintering process there is no need to build supports since the same powder guarantees support for the models in production.
How SLS works
Sintering is a laser technology that uses solid materials in the form of powders. The particles in the powder bed are selectively fused using a computer-controlled laser beam, which raises the temperature of the powder above the glass transition point, after which adjacent particles flow together.
At the end of the process, it is sufficient to wait for the complete cooling of the generated block of powders, operators manually eliminate the excesses of material deposited on the components and the prototypes are ready for use.
What is SLS used for?
SLS Selective Laser Sintering is an ideal technology for assembly tests and dimensional checks because it allows the creation of functional prototypes with complex geometries and excellent mechanical performance.
This technology is also suitable for the mass production of complex parts intended for final use.
The surface finish is porous, but thanks to appropriate additional processing in post-production, we can obtain excellent aesthetic results.
Materials used and finishes
The materials that can be used to create Sintering prototypes are:
Nylon PA 12 – Technical datasheet
Nylon PA 12+30% Glass Fiber – Technical datasheet
Nylon PA 12+aluminum – Technical datasheet
Nylon PA 12 Multi Jet Fusion – Technical datasheet
The surface finish of the prototypes made in sintering is porous, but we can achieve 3 degrees of finish through post-processing treatments on the piece:
- Standard: removal of exceding material
- Primer: after the standard finishing we apply on the piece a primer to get ready to paint
- Painting: you can choose the color in the RAL tables
The benefits associated with the use of this technology can be traced back to several factors:
- Quick construction times
- High productivity
- Isotropic mechanical properties
- Ideal technology for functional prototypes
- Ideal technology for the production of small and medium runs
- Time to market reduction
The benefits of sintering technology can also be associated with the applications that this methodology offers. Indeed, compared to injection molding technology, you can develop prototypes with competitive mechanical properties and you can also produce cost-effective small component series.
It also guarantees the possibility of creating products as unique pieces or in limited edition as well as unique, complex and customized projects.