SLS – Selective Laser Sintering
Prototypes processed with Lasersintering (SLS) is mostly a method for fullfunction prototypes. In a comparison with Stereolithography, the sintered prototypes are extremely strong and robust but with less definition and accuracy. Sintered prototypes can be alternative to Vacuumcasting if finish, texturing and color is of no importance. Pricewise the sintered prototypes are lower than Stereolithography prototypes. However this is depending on geometry, number and size. SLS is a reg. trademark of 3D Systems Inc.
In special software we slice a CAD-model in a range of approx. 0,1-0,15 mm. In the generated boundaries we create a raster which is controlling a laserspot across a powder bead. The powder is heated up to just beneath its meltingpoint. When the laser hits the surface the powder will melt (sinter) together. Effect of the laser is matched in order to melt the worklayer, plus a couple hundreds of a millimeter down in the previous layer. When a layer are ready exposed the container with the sintered part is lowered 0,1-0,15 mm and an e.g. recoater is crossing the surface with new powder. The process continues until the last layer is sintered. After this the whole “cake” needs to be slowly cooled, first in the machine for a short while and thereafter outside the machine for almost the same time as the buildingprocess, normally between 1 and 30 hours. When temperature is down to 40C parts are taken out from the “cake”, then they are rinsed, blastered and measured before ready for delivery.
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