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Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is an additive manufacturing technology capable of building complex parts with high levels of accuracy. This technology does not require additional tooling, is not susceptible to tooling wear, and is cost effective. Another upside is that the unused powder material is recyclable for future production.
How SLS works
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is quite similar to Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF), but instead of metal, plastic materials build the basis to create parts. Like L-PBF, SLS uses a powder bed and the process of fusing the parts together layer by layer to create highly accurate parts. One major difference to L-PBF is that in SLS, the powder is heated just below its melting temperature and the thermal energy of the laser is solely used to deliver the residual energy to melt the part.
SLS use cases
SLS is a popular additive manufacturing technology for producing plastic parts on the MakerVerse Platform. This technology can realize functional prototypes and parts for end-use applications. SLS is the go-to-technology when the printed parts require good mechanical properties or must be produced very efficiently (i.e., jigs & fixtures, replacement parts, and more).
SLS by the numbers
Max Build Size: Ranging from 340 X 340 X 600 mm to 700 X 380 X 580 mm (material dependent)
Minimum Wall Thickness: 0.8 mm (material/geometry dependent)
Dimensional Accuracy: +/- 0.3% with a minimum of 0.3 mm
Lead Times: Starting at 7 days
Standard Color: White
Key feature: Diverse materials
SLS materials are suited for a wide range of use cases. Aluminum and glass-filled PA 12 offers high levels of strength. Other materials are biocompatible and suited for medical use.
SLS is also capable of printing flame retardant parts. Parts made with these materials meet the high certification standards for specific industries, such as aerospace, rail, and electronics.
Source industrial-grade SLS parts
MakerVerse give you the flexibility to source parts however you need. Get instant quotes and quickly order parts with on-demand manufacturing. For sophisticated orders, our team of experts will work with you to develop, align and supervise a manufacturing quality plan from start to finish.
Available SLS finishes
An abrasive medium is applied to the component under high pressure. By using different media (e.g., corundum, sand or glass beads), both functional (achieving a certain surface roughness) and optical (polishing the surface) finishing can be performed.
The plastic component is immersed in a water bath. The resulting chemical reaction causes the dye to penetrate the component. Characteristics of this are, on the one hand, a homogeneous color gradient and, on the other hand, an unchanging but more scratch-resistant surface.
Additional color is applied to the printed part, often by a professional spray-painting system. To get the desired output, the part is properly prepared through accurate cleaning and a clearcoat.
Using sandpaper, sanding smooths the part and removes any obvious blemishes, such as support marks or blob. The chosen sandpaper depends on the layer height and print quality desired.
The sealing process is performed with an aqueous solution to close the outer surface or skin of the part and fill in small pores. The sealing solution is either manually applied or dipped, depending on the part’s geometry.
Parts are reworked by grinding media in a container, where they are deburred, finely ground, and polished by vibration or rotation of the container.
In the smoothing process, the plastic component is reworked by a chemical reaction. The top layer of the component is dissolved by a medium in a solution bath and the result is a very smooth surface.
Available SLS materials
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PA 11 is a biobased polymer providing excellent mechanical properties. Its high ductility and impact strength make it interesting for functional parts in various industries such as automotive. PA 11 parts can also be dyed and are biocompatible, which is why it is used more and more in the orthotics sector for small series and individualized parts.
Typical usage would be interior parts for automotive, prosthetics and orthotics, and functional prototypes.
Lead time: 7 days
PA 12 is a polyamide (PA) and represents a standard material for Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). This material combines high strength with long-term stability. Further advantages of PA 12 lie in its chemical resistance and biocompatibility. Therefore, the material can easily be used for medical applications.
PA 12 is usually used for fully functional prototypes as well as for end-use parts. One specific area of application is in the orthopedic sector, resulting from its biocompatibility.
Lead time: 7 days
PA 12 GF is a polyamide (PA) that is filled with glass beads making it a material with very good long-term usability. This plastic can withstand high thermal load capacities and combines high density and tensile strength.
PA 12 GF is often used for fully functional prototypes. Furthermore, it is often used for end-use parts e.g., in the automotive industry where it can be placed near high temperature environments.
Lead time: 9 days
PA 12 Al-filled is a polyamide (PA) that is filled with aluminum (Al). The aluminum filling results in a metallic-looking appearance. One of the major advantages of PA 12 Al-filled is its excellent dimensional stability at high temperatures combined with the light weight of a plastic. In addition to that, surfaces can be finished by grinding, polishing, or coating, resulting in even more possibilities to individualize each part regarding the specific use case.
PA 12 Al-filled is usually used for fully functional prototypes and jigs and fixtures. Another predestined use case is components that must operate under high temperatures as well as under great stress.
Lead time: 9 days
PA 12 FR is a polyamide that is provided with a special chemical flame retardant. This makes the material particularly suitable for industries in which such flame retardancy is required from a safety or regulatory perspective, especially the aerospace and rail sector. Additionally, it offers a high tensile strength.
PA 12 FR is approved for certain aerospace applications and is therefore used for interior components in aircrafts. It is also used in (passive) parts for electronic components.
Lead time: 9 days
Didn't find the material you are looking for?
We are constantly expanding and you can request specific materials going beyond our current standardized offering. Simply select “Other Material” in the order process and provide us your desired specifications in the comment section.
You can also reach out to us with your specific material requests at any time under email@example.com
Resources: Polymer 3D printing
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