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Selective Laser


Selective laser
sintering is an
additive rapid
prototyping technique
that uses a high
power laser to fuse
small particles of
thermoplastic, metal,
polyamide (nylon),
ceramic, or glass
filled nylon. SLS
offers the key
advantage of making
functional parts in
essentially final
materials, depending
on use of the part.

Brian Reniker

SLS prototypes like many

rapid prototyping processes are
constructed from a .STL file. A
.STL file is is simply a mesh of
triangles wrapped around a CAD
model (this was defined by 3D
CAD systems in 1980s).
.STLs name is derived from
a rapid prototyping process,
StereoLithography, also known as
abbreviation of Standard
Triangulation Language.
This very simple format has
become an industry standard for
the Rapid Prototyping sector.

The Solid Models as a:

(a) Solid Model,
(b) an STL file, and (c)
in Sliced Layers.

The process of
Selective Laser Sintering
(SLS) is somewhat similar
to sterolithography, in that
a prototype is produced
rapidly through layering of
material. From
thermoplastic powders
mostly, although SLS is
useful in that many

c is a plastic
that melts to a
liquid when
heated and
freezes to a
brittle, very
glassy state
when cooled

Such as, polyamide (Nylon),

material allows the production of
fully functional prototypes with
high strength. Glass Filled Nylon
is suitable for high thermal
resistance and high impact
strength prototypes. SLS Somos
201 is used for functional rubber
like parts. Depending on the use
of the part being constructed
these parts may be functional, a

Price - Multiple pieces

of the same part are
much cheaper than
ordering a single piece.
Even various SLS
models ordered at the
same time as a single
batch are much cheaper
to make than ordering
Speed - It could be few
hours or a day it really
depends upon the build
size, shape, and
accuracy needed.

Size of SLS singlemade parts are

generally 13.3 x 13.3 x
2. Although larger parts
can be constructed by
making many smaller
parts to assemble, and
form a larger part. The
thickness of an
individual SLS layer is
0.15 to 0.2 mm layer
thickness, depending
upon the material used.

The process of Selective Laser Sintering is actually

quite simple. The entire internal system is heated to below
the melting point of whatever substance is being used. So
that when heat is applied by the high energy CO2 laser
melts and fuses (sinters) the substance.
To do this two
platforms, a
roller, an optical
sensor, and
material is being
used to form a
part are used in
with the laser.

The first piston contains most of the

substance. When this piston is raised it
makes the substance available to the
roller. The roller moves the material over
the second piston to cover the part being
constructed. The material which has been
moved to the second piston will then be