How It Works or the Process of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Selective Laser Sintering uses a variety of powdered materials such as fused particles of metal, glass, plastic or ceramic. Like in other 3D printing processes the process of SLS also involves following a computer aided design that specifies how the object will be created layer by layer. The strong laser beam throws the powdered material on to the platform placed under the powder container. The laser draws patterns and cross section of the prototype layer by layer following the design. After completing a layer the printing platform drops down to 0.1 millimeter and spread another layer of the powdered material. This process continues till the object is fully grown. Once the object is complete it is separated from the platform. It requires very little cleaning as the un-sintered or excessive material can easily be brushed away. This process may take a few hours or more.
Selective Laser Sintering Materials to Build Prototypes
There is a range of powdered material that can be used in SLS or Selective Laser Sintering. Some of these materials are:
PA 3200 GF: this material is a combination of glass and nylon and it provides high temperature resistance and mechanical wear resistance. You can use it where you need high stiffness.
PA 2200: provides exceptional durability. It is also a nylon based substance.
PEEk: this material is based on high performance polymer and provides high chemical and temperature resistance.
There are other materials like Alumide, PrimeCast and PrimePart FR and materials for Selective Laser Sintering are growing because of the development and research in rapid prototyping techniques. The prototype creation through SLS or Selective Laser Sintering takes very little time but it depends on the size of the object being created. Because of the availability of tough materials to crate functional prototypes SLS is becoming popular in manufacturing industries.