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3D SLS printing


What is SLS printing and how does it work?

If you're looking for a manufacturing process that can produce strong and functional parts, you should be looking into selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printing.

3D SLS printing3D SLS printing

Engineers and manufacturers use SLS printers across different industries due to the wide range of applications it is suited for. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about SLS 3D printing, from the basics of the selective laser sintering process to the different systems and materials available on the market.

We'll also discuss workflow considerations and when to use SLS 3D printing over other additive and traditional additive manufacturing methods.

Selective Laser Sintering

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a 3D printing technology that uses lasers to fuse together small particles of thermoplastic. It works similarly to other forms of 3D printing, in that it builds an object layer-by-layer using computer-aided design (CAD) models as the template. However, it differs from other methods in that the laser is used to selectively sinter, or melt together, small particles of thermoplastic. This process allows for much more intricate designs than traditional 3D printing techniques.

SLS has become a popular choice for many businesses due to its ability to produce complex parts quickly and cost-effectively. Additionally, SLS 3D printing is relatively low maintenance compared to other 3D printing technologies, making it an attractive option for businesses looking to reduce costs and improve efficiency. With the right materials, SLS can produce high-quality parts that are strong, lightweight, and highly detailed.

It has become a popular technology in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and medical, as well as for rapid prototyping of new designs or products. On the whole, SLS 3D printing technology is a great choice for anyone looking to create complex parts quickly and cost-effectively.

How it works

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a 3D printing technology that uses a laser to sinter powdered materials, such as nylon, and polystyrene, into 3D objects. The powder bed fusion process starts with a layer of material in the powder bed being selectively heated by the laser according to the desired shape of the object that is being 3D printed. Once a layer has been melted, another layer of material is added on top of it and the laser then selectively melts this new powder in accordance with the design. This process continues until the entire object has been built up from successive layers, forming highly complex and detailed objects with good dimensional accuracy.

The advantage of SLS over traditional manufacturing processes is its ability to create complex shapes with minimal material waste, as the powder can be reused. The process is also relatively fast and cost-effective compared to other 3D printing technologies. With SLS 3d printing technology, manufacturers are able to produce high-quality parts in shorter time frames than ever before. SLS 3D printing is ideal for complex projects that require detailed parts and tight tolerances, making it a popular choice for commercial applications.

This technology is also becoming increasingly accessible to home users as SLS printers become more affordable and easier to use. With an SLS printer, the sky’s the limit when it comes to 3D printing possibilities. If you have an idea, SLS printing can help turn it into reality! From prototypes to customized consumer products, SLS printing is a great choice for any project. With SLS printing technology, the future of manufacturing is here today!

Traditional Industrial SLS 3D Printers

Despite being one of the most popular 3D printing technologies among professionals for years, selective laser sintering has only been accessible to service bureaus and large companies because it is fairly complex to use and requires expensive equipment.

Not only do these machines need specific HVAC and industrial power, but they're large too- the smallest machine still requires 10 m² of installation space. To completely set up one of these machines takes multiple days, which on-site installation and training included. Not only are these systems difficult to learn and use, but they also require someone with specific technical skills to keep them running smoothly.

SLS Materials used in 3D printing works

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a 3D printing technology that uses lasers to fuse particles of plastic and other materials into the desired 3D shape. It creates highly-detailed parts with complex geometries, making it one of the most versatile 3D printing technologies available. The  most popular materials used in SLS printing include nylon, and polystyrene.

-About Arnite® T AM1210 (P)

Connectors, automobile electronics, electrical, lightingExcellent dielectric properties, recyclable, improved dimensional stability due to lower moisture uptake

-Nylon 11

high strength, high elongation at break, high impact resistance

-Nylon 12

high strength & stiffness applications, skin contact applications, thin features and interlocking parts

3D printing Nylon is a very common material for SLS 3D printing due to its lightweight nature and flexibility. It also has excellent mechanical properties and chemical resistance, making it ideal for parts with intricate details or that must withstand harsh environments.

Polystyrene is a thermoplastic polymer with high strength and excellent dimensional stability. It can be used for SLS 3D printing to create parts that don’t require much flexibility or chemical resistance, such as model prototypes.


In conclusion, SLS printing provides the flexibility to create highly-detailed parts using a variety of materials. The most popular SLS 3D printing materials are nylon, and polystyrene, Each material has unique properties that make it ideal for certain SLS 3D printing applications, allowing users to customize their parts as needed. With SLS 3D printing technology, engineers and designers can create complex parts quickly and efficiently.

Common Questions Asked

Why is SLS used in 3D printing?

SLS printing offers an innovative and efficient method for producing a functional prototype or end-use part in a fast way with a high degree of precision at a reasonable cost. The lasers that fuse powder have a much higher scanning speed than the layers deposited in other processing methods such as industrial FDM.

What is SLS vs SLA?

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Stereolithography (SLA) are two of the most popular 3D printing technologies for creating functional parts. While both SLS and SLA have advantages, 3D printing is often preferred over SLA for more functional applications due to its ability to create parts with greater strength and durability.

SLS 3D printing is a powder-based process that uses a high-powered laser to fuse particles of materials together into a solid mass. This method allows for complex geometries and features, as well as the ability to produce parts with greater strength, durability and flexibility. SLA 3D printing, on the other hand, is a liquid-based process that uses ultraviolet laser light to cure and solidify layers of photosensitive resin. This technology is capable of producing extremely detailed parts with smooth surface finishes but has limited material options compared to FDM 3D printing.

Is SLS better than FDM?

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) are two of the most popular 3D printing technologies for making parts. While both technologies have advantages, SLS 3D printer is often preferred over FDM for more functional applications.

Additionally, SLS 3D printer is capable of producing complex geometries and features that cannot be easily achieved using FDM

Author Natalia Zalikowska

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