Advantages of Selective Laser Sintering 3D Printing
The Advantages of SLS
SLS has been one of the go-to methods for rapid prototyping, especially for batch production of custom parts. In industrial-scale applications, it is a reliable, precise, and fast method that has stood the test of time.
1. No need for support structures
One of the chief benefits of using SLS printing is that it designs do not need any support structure. As the print is being built, all hollow spaces are automatically filled with unused powder, thus making SLS prints self-supporting. This offers modelers and product designers a huge degree of design freedom. Models with large hollow spaces, overhanging features, and very thin features will no longer be a problem when printing with SLS. Printing with SLS can also be a viable solution for printing complex designs that would otherwise require printing in multiple parts with FDM or SLA.
Since the nylon powder used in SLS only requires very brief exposure to the laser to be sintered, SLS printing has the potential to be one of the fastest 3D printing technologies – even faster than the impressively fast SLA. Of course, speed has to be quantified in the context of print resolution, as even an FDM printer can print incredibly fast if the software was set to print very thick layer lines. With SLS, there is hardly any tradeoff between printing speed and quality.
Much like SLA, printing a small layer and a wide layer takes just as much time in SLS. For this reason, it is often more practical and economical for commercial SLS printing businesses to print a batch that fills the entire volume of the powder bin. Multiple objects can be spaced closely together to maximize the build space. For this reason, many businesses that offer SLA printing services typically wait to fill a whole batch before they start printing.
3. Excellent layer adhesion
SLS printing has been known to result in prints with very strong layer adhesion. Because of this characteristic, SLS prints have virtually isotropic mechanical properties. This means that the tensile strength, hardness, and elongation of an object printed using SLS are almost equal in all directions.
4. Ideal for dyeing
SLS prints come out with a naturally porous surface, which makes them very prone to intake by moisture and other liquids. This can be excellent for the coloring of parts post-printing, as dyeing using a hot bath process becomes much more effective. However, SLS prints that will be exposed to high moisture conditions will likely require a waterproof finishing.
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