Selective Laser Sintering is an additive manufacturing technology that uses a high power laser to fuse plastic, ceramic, or glass powders into a 3-dimensional object. The laser selectively fuses powdered material by scanning cross-sections generated from a 3D CAD drawing of the part on the surface of a powder bed. After each cross-section is scanned the powder bed is lowered by one layer thickness, a new layer of material is applied on top, with the process repeated until the part is completed.
Compared to other methods of additive manufacturing, SLS can produce parts from a relatively wide range of commercially available powder materials, including polymers such as nylon, glass-filled nylon, polystyrene, and green sand. The physical process can be full melting, partial melting, or liquid-phase sintering. Depending on the material, up to 100% density can be achieved with material properties comparable to those from conventional manufacturing methods. In certain cases, large numbers of smaller parts can be packed within the powder bed, allowing higher productivity.
SLS technology is widely used around the world due to its ability to easily make very complex geometries directly from digital CAD data. While it began as a way to build prototype parts early in the design cycle, it is increasingly being used in limited-run manufacturing to produce end-use parts.
Effective building volume
Building speed (material-dependent)
Layer thickness (material-dependent)
Scan speed during build process