SLS 3D Printing
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is an additive manufacturing technique using laser beam to sinter powder-based engineering grade materials nylon binding them together in order to create a solid 3D model. This versatile technology uses versatile polymers as materials and is widely used for rapid prototyping. Due to the powder which surrounds the part, complex parts can be easily built without the requirement of support material.
3D printing has been a pivotal technique used in the fields of engineering and architecture. There have been multiple methods devised to craft the best of designs into prototypes and samples. However, the SLS method of 3D printing stands apart from the rest because of its sheer speed and accuracy. SLS stands for Selective Laser Sintering, which is a printing technique that is used on an industrial scale of operations. It deploys multiple materials based upon nylon to create some of the highly durable 3D printing models and products. It is based on the principle of additive manufacturing and is related to the family of fusion of powder beds.
Benefits of SLS :
The process has some of the most significant benefits for those who seek to create simulations and prototyping 3D printing designs or want their designs to have low volume and the elimination of tools that consume much of the time. The technique can also create some of the structures with thin walls and have detailed geometrics on an intricate level. Here are some of the prime benefits of using the technique,
- The technique complements well with many materials that even include ceramics, metals and glass powder. This expands its applicability and makes it a preference in many industries.
- This 3D printing technique is an ideal choice for producing items in smaller batches that also tend to reduce the overall production cost while also allowing a great degree of customization.
- The method does not require any support structure to help in creating a specific design. Therefore, the technique remains self-supportive overall. When Nylon based materials are used in the method, then it is the finest and fastest technique for 3D printing in the room. This is because Nylon takes the least time in melting upon exposure to sintering laser.
- The adhesion power in the layers is extremely strong. There is a high level of bonding in the materials after the melting and layer addition. Also, the printed items have mechanical properties that are virtually isotropic. This property provides the final designs same level of strength and durability at all points.
The Process :
A thin layer of powered material is coated over the build platform which is pre heated below the melting point of the polymer material used. High power laser is used to fuse powdered particles in order to build a solid part layer by layer. The laser fuses the material together by scanning the entire cross section from the 3D model. After this process, build platform lowers and the object surface is re coated repeating this process until the part is complete.
Benefits of SLS with CAD Deziners
MJF vs SLS
MJF stands for Multi Jet Fusion, yet another 3D printing technique based upon heat. However, there are subtle differences between the MJF and the SLS method. The primary difference is the basis of heat concepts that the two use. On the first hand, SLS uses lasers to transmit heat and slinter the cross-section of the base material. At the same time, MJF deploys a specialised ink that is a fusing agent to be spread on the powder that enables transmission of heat through the absorption of infrared light. The other differences between the two methods are,
- SLS primarily works with the concept of layering the materials repeatedly one over the other. At the same time, MJF relies on heating the printing and fusing material up to the sintering temperature and working with a detailing agent simultaneously.
- The printed parts using the MJF process are usually black or near black in colour as this colour allows the maximum absorption of infrared light. On the other side, the parts printed using SLS are white in colour and can be blended in well with other colours because of their porous nature.
Features of the SLS
Some of the prime features of the SLS printing technique include,
- Parameters: The manufacturers pre-set the printing parameters associated with SLS machines for 3D printing projects. This is why it does not require any support structure to help with the designing and printing process.
- Adhesion: The method relies on the layering of materials at its very centre. This simultaneous layering of the same material strengthens the bond between the particles to another level and gives extra durability to the finally produced part.
- Shrinking: The parts produced using this technique are subjected to shrinking as a part of the cooling of materials. The printed items develop internal stress as the cooling process progresses. This causes the layers to pull upwards from the bottom.
Industries we serve with SLA
- Polyamide 12 (PA 12): Commonly known as plastic, this material is prepared from polyamide powder. This material has good mechanical properties like strength and stiffness and high chemical resistance due to less moisture absorption. This material offers high accuracy and lower cost. This is a granulated white material when unpolished. It can be further modified by polishing or dyeing process. A relatively faster process and can be used for rapid prototyping or for the production of finished products.
- Polyamide 11 (PA 11): Highly elastic and displays isotropic behavior.
- Aluminium filled nylon (Alumide): This 3d printing material is recommended whenever there is a need for metallic appearance. Alumide is a mixture fine aluminium particles and polyamide powder. The physical properties of alumide are highly similar to polyamide. This material is highly stiff and has a shiny look with a matte surface. This material is very durable and offers a good flexibility also, it is relatively cheaper. Both raw and polished finishing is available for alumide.
- Glass filled nylon (PA-GF): This material is a mixture of polyamide powder and glass fibers with a white slight porous surface. This material is high stiffness and has high temperature resistance combined with good chemical resistance. This material also has excellent strength and also offers higher material consistency. This material can also be used for complex designs. This material is highly used in the automotive industry due to the ability to create complex parts using it and excellent strength. An engineering grade material that can be used for creating parts requiring high stiffness, low abrasion, robust and that will be used under elevated thermal temperatures.
- Carbon fiber filed nylon (PA-FR): This material displays high weight strength ration and excellent stiffness.
(Nylon) SLS Printing Methods
|Material Name||Quality||Min Details||Minimum Wall Thickness||Maximum Size|
Nylon PA2200 (White)
Glass-filled nylon 3200
Multi Jet Fusion PA12 (Black)
HP Premium Nylon PA12 (SLS)