Selective Laser Sintering

Selective Laser Sintering

Order custom SLS parts suitable for rapid prototyping and end-use production.


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Selective laser sintering (SLS) is an industrial 3D printing process that produces accurate prototypes and functional production parts in as fast as 1 day. Multiple nylon-based materials and a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) are available, which create highly durable final parts that require heat resistance, chemical resistance, flexibility, or dimensional stability. With SLS 3D printing, no support structures are required making it easy to nest multiple parts into a single build and an economical solution for when higher volumes of 3D-printed parts are required.

Common uses for selective laser sintering are:

Why Use SLS?

See how SLS uses actual thermoplastic and elastomeric materials to produce parts with good mechanical properties. Final parts can be used to test future injection molding designs or as functional, end-use components.

Design Guidelines for Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

Our basic guidelines for selective laser sintering include important design considerations to help improve part manufacturability, enhance cosmetic appearance, and reduce overall production time.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) Materials

PA 11 Black (PA 850) provides ductility and flexibility without sacrificing tensile strength and temperature resistance. These characteristics make PA 850 a widely used general-purpose material for functional and moving parts.

Primary Benefits​

  • Highest elongation at break of all additively manufactured nylons
  • Uniform deep-black color that showcases features and provides a clean appearance

PA 12 White (PA 650) is a go-to material for general-purpose applications like functional and end-use parts. PA 650 is the strongest of the unfilled nylon materials and it is slightly stiffer than PA 11 Black.

Primary Benefits​

  • Economical material choice
  • Strength and stiffness

PA12 Mineral-Filled (PA620-MF) is a 25% mineral fiber-filled PA powder. The fiber content significantly increases stiffness and HDT (up to 363 °F). It is a good material option when stiffness and high temperature resistance are important requirements.

Primary Benefits​

  • Highest stiffness of all additively manufactured nylons
  • Temperature resistance

PA12 40% Glass-Filled (PA614-GS) is a PA powder loaded with glass spheres that make it stiff and dimensionally stable. This material is an ideal candidate for parts that require long term wear resistance properties. Due to the glass additive, it has decreased impact and tensile strengths compared to other nylons.

Primary Benefits​

  • Long-term wear resistance
  • Increased stiffness

Polypropylene Natural offers chemical resistance properties that are top among the SLS and MJF material offerings. This tough and durable, yet flexible, material offers resistance to most acids and is a low weight material option.

Primary Benefits​

  • Chemical resistance
  • Durable, low weight material

TPU 70-A is a white thermoplastic polyurethane that combines rubber-like elasticity and elongation with good abrasion and impact resistance properties. The rubber-like quality of this material make it ideal for seals, gaskets, grips, hoses, or any other application where excellent resistance under dynamic loading is required.

Primary Benefits​

  • High elongation at break
  • Flexibility 

Compare Material Properties

Surface Finish for SLS Parts

Surface finish on SLS parts is typically rougher than other 3D printing technologies—it can range from 100-250 RMS. We also bead blasts the majority of customers’ parts to remove loose powder and create a smooth matte finish. 

Material: PA12 40% Glass-Filled (PA614-GS)
Resolution: Normal (0.004 in. layer thickness)
Finish: Standard

Material: PA11 Black (PA850)
Resolution: Normal (0.004 in. layer thickness)
Finish: Standard

Our SLS 3D Printers

Our SLS equipment includes sPro140 machines, which have the world’s largest sintering build volume, and feature fully digital high-speed scanning systems, unparalleled process consistency, and closed systems for powder blending and delivery for reliable part quality. We also use sPro60 machines, which allow for multiple materials and high throughput.

How Does SLS 3D Printing Work?

The SLS machine begins sintering each layer of part geometry into a heated bed of nylon-based powder. After each layer is fused, a roller moves across the bed to distribute the next layer of powder. The process is repeated layer by layer until the build is complete.

When the build finishes, the entire powder bed with the encapsulated parts is moved into a breakout station, where it is raised up, and parts are broken out of the bed. An initial brushing is manually administered to remove a majority of loose powder. Parts are then bead blasted to remove any of the remaining residual powder before ultimately reaching the finishing department.

Tour Our 3D Printing Facility

Take a quick tour through our additive manufacturing facility in North Carolina, one of the largest 3D printing operations in the world, to see how we build high-quality prototypes and fully functional end-use components and assemblies.

3D Printing Surface Finish Guide

Download this quick reference guide that looks at all of your surface finish options across our six additive manufacturing technologies.

Design Essentials for 3D Printing

The 3D Printing Essentials reference guide offers guidelines and key considerations when designing for industrial 3D printing processes.

Get an online quote and injection molding design analysis today.

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