Selective Laser Sintering
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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?
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.
|All SLS Materials||10.6 in. x 12.6 in. x 16 in.||269mm x 304mm x 406mm|
|PA12||19 in. x 19 in. x 17 in.||482mm x 482mm x 431mm|
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- High elongation at break
Compare Material Properties
|Material||Color||Tensile Strength||Tensile Modulus||Elongation|
|PA 11 Black|
|Black||7.54 ksi||261 ksi||30%|
|PA 12 White|
|White||7.25 ksi||290 ksi||11%|
|PA 12 Mineral-Filled (Duraform HST)||Light Gray||5.51 ksi||450 ksi||3%|
|PA 12 40% Glass-Filled|
|White||7.25 ksi||522 ksi||5%|
|Polypropylene Natural||Natural||2.61 ksi||123 ksi||15%|
|TPU 70-A||White||580 psi||210%|
These figures are approximate and dependent on a number of factors, including but not limited to, machine and process parameters. The information provided is therefore not binding and not deemed to be certified. When performance is critical, also consider independent lab testing of additive materials or final parts.
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)
Material: PA11 Black (PA850)
Resolution: Normal (0.004 in. layer thickness)
Our SLS 3D Printers
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.