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What is Selective Laser Sintering?
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is an industrial 3D printing process ideal for manufacturing end-use parts.
In SLS, a laser selectively sinters polymer powder particles, fusing them together and building a part layer-by-layer.
SLS produces functional plastic parts with isotropic mechanical properties that can be used for detailed prototyping or end-use low-volume production.
Our SLS 3D printing service
From prototyping to small-batch production, our global network of certified SLS 3D printing facilities will allow you to produce highly accurate parts with quality and strength comparable to injection molding.
Upload your CAD file for a free quote and manufacturability review and get your parts into production in less than 5 minutes.
|Maximum build size *||300 x 300 x 300 mm (11.8” x 11.8” x 11.8”)|
|Lead time *||6 business days|
|Dimensional accuracy||± 0.3% with a lower limit of ± 0.3 mm (± 0.012”)|
|Layer thickness||100 μm|
* For expedited lead times or parts that exceed the maximum build size contact email@example.com.
Available materials for SLS 3D Printing
SLS produces parts from a very wide range of engineering thermoplastics. Here is a list of the SLS materials available on 3D Hubs.
|Nylon 12 (PA 12)||SLS nylon is a robust thermoplastic with all-around excellent physical properties, ideal for functional prototypes and end-use applications.|
|Glass-filled Nylon (PA 12 GF)||Glass-filled SLS nylon is reinforced with glass beads creating parts with higher stiffness and thermal stability than standard nylon.|
|TPU / TPE / TPA *||Thermoplastic elastomers combine high elasticity and strength with good chemical resistance, making them ideal for functional, flexible parts.|
* These materials are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Available surface finishes for SLS 3D printing
Additional post processes can be applied to improve the appearance or mechanical properties of parts produced with SLS. Learn more about the post-processing option for SLS in our Knowledge Base article.
|As printed||As printed SLS parts are typically white or stone grey in color with a smooth surface and a powder texture and without visible layers.|
|Dyed||SLS parts can be dyed by immersing in a warm color bath to a variety of colors. The color penetration reaches an approximate depth of 0.5 mm and covers all surfaces.|
|Tumble smoothing *||The parts are placed in a tumbler that contains small ceramic chips, gradually eroding its surface down to a polished injection molding-like finish.|
|Bead blasting||Bead blasting (shot pinning) adds a uniform matte or satin surface finish on a 3D printed part. *|
|Spray painting *||SLS pars can be spray painted white, black or to a specified RAL or Pantone color.|
|Water tightening *||SLS parts are vacuum impregnated with resin, sealing all internal porosity and ensuring water tightness.|
|Metal plating *||Electroplating (nickel, copper or gold) is an ideal solution for parts that require a metallic appearance, without the high costs associated with metal 3D printing.|
* These finishes are available by contacting email@example.com.
Ideal SLS applications
Our in-house manufacturing experts recommend using SLS for the following use cases.
SLS is ideal for fabricating functional prototypes from durable, chemically resistant engineering thermoplastics.
Appearance: Smooth surface
Quantity: 1-5 parts
SLS is cost-competitive to injection molding for low-volume manufacturing of end-use plastics parts for quantities up to 300 units.
Appearance: Injection molding-like
Quantity: 10-300 parts
SLS can produce optimized parts from advanced polymer composites that can be used as replacements to metal components.
Appearance: Smooth surface
Quantity: 1-50 parts
Design guidelines for SLS
The table below summarizes the recommended and technically feasible values for the most common features encountered in 3D printed parts.
|Unsupported walls||1.0 mm (0.040'')|
|Supported walls||0.7 mm (0.030'')|
|Minimum detail size||0.25 mm (0.010'')|
|Minimum hole size||1.0 mm (0.040'')|
|Moving parts||0.5 mm (0.020'') between moving surfaces|
|Assembly clearance||0.4 mm (0.016'') between mating surfaces|
|Maximum wall thickness||20 mm (0.8''). Thicker parts must be hollowed with and at least two escape holes for powder removal with a min. diameter of 8 mm (0.3'').|
Learn how to design for SLS in our Knowledge Base article.