SLS, or selective laser sintering, is a method of additive manufacturing that combines powder and a laser to create a solid object. A layer of powder is spread on a platform, the powder is kept at a temperature just below the melting point of the material.
A pointed laser then traces the blueprint of the part to be made on the layer of powder, melting the powder and making it fused to the previous layer. When the construction of one layer is complete, the build platform is lowered to make room for the construction of the subsequent layer. Until all of the layers have been added and the component is finished, this operation is repeated.
SLS is the method of choice for practical applications requiring mechanical joints such as snap fits, live hinges, and others. SLS is a fantastic choice for the direct manufacturing of items that need to be strong and heat resistant due to the variety of materials and platform sizes available for use with the process. On that note, let's take a detailed look into the applications of SLS 3D printing.
SLS 3D printing allows for the production of parts at various scales, making it useful for everything from printing little, intricate hinges to massive, complex seals and gaskets for air vents. These items are traditionally challenging to fabricate digitally, but with an SLS printer, you can obtain greater dimensional accuracy and precision to guarantee a perfect fit.
Due to the speed with which models can be manufactured using the SLS method, the period between the design phase and the point at which clients can see the completed product has been significantly reduced, allowing for more rapid and intuitive prototyping.
In addition to its use in prototyping, Selective Laser Sintering can be used in manufacturing actual working parts. This is because SLS is capable of printing highly complicated shapes and is widely recognized for its high degree of precision. Selective Laser Sintering is advantageous for low-volume production because it allows for the simultaneous fabrication of several pieces on the building platform.
The combination of 3D scanning innovation with SLS 3D printing enables the manufacturing of original components that originally didn’t have a 3D CAD model.