Selective laser sintering: what it is, what it is used for, materials, examples

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What is the selective laser sintering

The Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology is an additive rapid prototyping process in which a three-dimensional model is created for 0.1 mm horizontal layers through a laser that fuses the nylon powder and aggregates it. During the sintering process there is no need to build supports since the same powder guarantees support for the models in production. Once the process is complete, it is sufficient to wait for the complete cooling of the dust block that has been generated, manually eliminate the excesses of material deposited on the components and the prototypes are ready for use.

What is it for?

This 3D printing process makes it possible to create functional prototypes with even very complex geometries and with excellent mechanical performances; for this reason it is the most used technology for assembly tests and dimensional checks. The surface finish is porous but it is possible to make the prototypes even aesthetic with the application of a primer for painting.

Materials used and finishes

We can make prototypes with the following materials:

PA – white – Technical datasheet

PA 30 GF – white – Technical datasheet

Duraform Flex – Black – Technical datasheet

Alumide – grey

HR PA 12 – grey – Technical datasheet

The surface finish of the sintered prototypes is porous. It is possible to carry out successive workings on the piece to reach three finishing degrees

  • Standard: excess material removal
  • Primer: in addition to the standard finish, a primer is applied to the piece to prepare for painting
  • Painting: it is possible to choose the color in the RAL tables

If the piece exceeds the maximum size of the machine it is possible to make the piece in several parts and then reassemble it. This operation is carried out ensuring the structure of the piece that is reinforced and filled in the section area.

Some examples

Prototype realized in Nylon PA that allows to obtain a good surface finish, resolution of details. The material is compatible with Class VI USP tests and tolerates autoclave sterilization and has good resistance to chemical agents.

Prototype made of PA 30 GF. The fiberglass filler makes the prototypes more mechanically resistant. The finish of the piece is rough but can be made smoother with subsequent processing Primer.

With the Duraform Flex it is possible to produce functional prototypes in imitation of rubber like gaskets and flexible tubes

The prototypes in aluminum-loaded nylon Alumide are characterized by high rigidity, higher performance in terms of thermal conductivity and metallic appearance

HP Multi Jet Fusion technology uses PA12 material and allows the production of high quality and pre-series parts up to 50/100 units.

Case histories

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