Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is an industrial grade 3D printing process. A thin layer of the powdered material is evenly spread across the build platform, and the laser selectively sinters (melts and fuses) the powdered particles together based on a 3D model's cross-section. As each layer is completed, the build platform is lowered, and a new layer of powder is applied, repeating the process until the entire object is formed. This method offers significant design freedom, as support structures are not necessary, and unused powder can be recycled for future use. SLS is widely used for rapid prototyping, creating complex geometries, and manufacturing functional parts with high precision and strength in various industries, including aerospace, automotive, and healthcare.
SLS's ability to work with a wide range of materials, including plastics, metals, ceramics, and composites, makes it a versatile technology for applications that demand intricate, functional, and custom parts. It is particularly well-suited for applications where traditional manufacturing methods are cost-prohibitive, or where complex geometries are essential.
At i-SOLIDs we are proud to use the Nexa QLS production platform which is a versatile and cost effective SLS technology. One unique and beneficial aspect of this system is its ability to use fully recycled PA12 powder that is a byproduct from the HP multi-jet fusion workflow. This allows us to provide a low cost and environmentally friendly powder bed technology without sacrificing part strength or quality
Materials: PA12 (Recycled)
Standard Dimensional Accuracy: ± 0.3% with a lower limit of ± 0.3 mm (± 0.012")
Post Processing Options: Threaded Inserts, Polishing, Vapor Smoothing, Cerakote
Design & Production Considerations:
Unlike FDM which typically produces part with less strength in the Z axis than the X-Y axis, the SLS process yields a near isotropic strength, allowing for more design freedom and parts that perform similar to traditional injection molded parts
No support material required - allows for much more complex geometries and more consistent surface finish than FDM or SLA
Models that have any fully sealed internal cavities will trap unfused powder unless there are holes or other features added to allows for powder removal during post processing
Pricing is most directly related to the volume and surface area of a model making large and dense parts less economical - light weighting design techniques can significantly reduce cost and provide other functional benefits without sacrificing mechanical strength
Quick turn prototyping
Complex parts that may not be well suited for FDM or SLA technologies
Low to mid volume production of cost effective end-use functional parts