Selective laser sintering (SLS) is an additive manufacturing (AM) technique.
Selective laser sintering uses a laser as the power source. The machine automatically aims the power source at points in space defined by the 3D model. The laser will sinter the powdered material, and bind the material together to create a solid structure. There are several technologies that we can use for low-volume production of component parts and rapid prototyping. SLS is a relatively new technology so far.
In product development, engineers have chosen SLS as a popular option, low cost, high productivity, and established materials. The technology is ideal for a lot of applications. From functional prototyping to small batch or bridge manufacturing, you can all use this technology.
Recent advances in materials, machinery, and software have made SLS accessible to a wider range of businesses. It enables more and more companies to use tools previously limited to a few high technology industries.
- Powder is dispersed in a very thin layer on the top of platform inside of the build chamber.
- The printer preheats the powder to a temperature (it should be just below the melting point of the material). This will make it easier for the laser to raise the temperature of specific regions of the powder.
- The laser scans a cross-section of the 3D model and heats the powder to just below or right at the melting point of the material. This will fuse the particles together to create a solid part. The unfused powder will support the part during printing.
- The platform moves down by one layer into the build chamber, and a roller then applies a new layer of powder on top. Then the laser will scan the next cross-section.
- This process repeats until parts are complete. And the completed parts will be left to cool down gradually inside the printer.
- Once parts are cooled, the operator can remove the build chamber from the printer and transfers it to the next station. Then the operator will separate the printed parts and clean the excess powder.
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