The Use Of SLS and Other Rapid Manufacturing Processes


Laser sintering is the wave of the future, when it comes to manufacturing prototypes.  Using lasers has proven to be quite helpful in an assortment of applications, from laser eye surgery to laser fingerprint scans to laser light displays.  Lasers prove their efficacy once again in the ways they can be utilised to enhance technology.  You are able to make prototypes of alloy components easily.  This technology is simple to use and can create made of a variety of kinds of metals.  Whatever the part you need, you are able to make it with laser technology.

Direct metal laser sintering, or DMLS, is a manufacturing process where metal powder is sintered into layers using lasers.  Till they achieve the desired depth, these layers are sintered together.  They require support structures, which are made from sintered metal’s incorporation.  After sintering is complete, these support structures could be eliminated.  The final prototype will require some additional work in order such as heat treatment, shot peening, and procedures.  The end result is a durable prototype that will help you to figure out whether your new design will work.

You can use DMLS to make prototypes from a number of metals.  You can make parts out of chrome, stainless steel, Inconel, Hastalloy, as well as ceramic.  Laser sintering applies powdered metal in thick layers, and technology is continuing to move ahead on those inventions.  You will be able to use this technology on more types of metals and alloys you can get your prototypes produced in the metals that you need for maximum durability and efficacy.  Your prototypes will be so great that you may be able to use them in creation.

DMLS took some time to be developed, however, that it is, it’s moving ahead quickly with different metals and additional innovations in the area.  There are sure to be improvements to the technology of laser sintering, and the manufacturing world can look forward to even prototyping technologies in the future when this process is any indication.  The simpler it is to make a prototype, the longer you’ll need to perfect the product or your part or whatever it’s that you want to enhance.  The wave of the future is continuing to forge.

The Demand For Prototyping

By letting the design division, manufacturing/production engineering and marketing departments view the version for an early stage allows expensive errors to be removed.  Any mistakes can be rectified expensive tooling was made for a generation that was complete whilst the models at this stage are comparatively inexpensive.

The term Rapid is relative as some models can take only a few hours to build whereas others may take several days.  It is dependent on the size, complexity, and technique used.

The standard file format that’s used between the CAD software, as well as the rapid prototyping machines, is the STL file format.  Although for color models such as those the VRML format is used, as there is not any color information in the STL file format.  Both formats create an approximation of the form of assembly or a part using triangular aspects.  The smaller the triangles the smoother the surface is a stage where there will be no additional progress due to the limitations of the technology.  In order to see how your model will be seen by the prototype machines, you want to turn off shading from the 3D CAD software.

There are a number of methods that may be used to deposit the content and which one is ideal for your project will be dependent on what you want from the own models.  They are:

Stereolithography (SLA)

Selective Layer Sintering (SLS)

3D Printing (3DP)

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

All of these techniques require a second substance that is called the support material, which allows tapered surfaces and overhangs to be produced as the part is ‘grown’.  These come in many different forms that could be powder, liquid, wax or perhaps the design substance which must be cleaned or removed from the model later.  Whereas machines you have to create the support material using specialist computer software, some machines generate the support arrangement for you so you don’t have any control over where it belongs.

A number of the other Benefits to Quick manufacture are:

Low substance waste


Complex Geometries

Energy Efficiency

Quick Manufacturing is widely regarded by specialists as the next phase for Rapid Prototyping technology.

Programs Of Rapid Prototyping

To reduce product development time (time compression technology)

To minimize engineering changes

To increase effective communication between engineers, product designers, and marketing departments

To prolong the product life cycle

The SLS Procedure

Quick Prototyping has long been utilized as a tool to create early concept models.  Employed as visual design aides and marketing instruments, model models were initially confined to the early stages of the design process due to the fragile nature of materials.  Continuing development and research has resulted in significant improvements in the range of substances available with prototype versions now suitable for form, fit and function testing.  Taking performance the Selective Laser Sintering process has proven widely used as an instrument for Rapid Manufacture of manufacturing components.

The Procedure

Selective Laser Sintering is your Additive Manufacturing process by which 3-dimensional objects are “grown” layer by layer from fused particles of glass, ceramic, metal or plastic. This 3D scanning and printing process involves Employing an STL file of the essential part a high power laser draws a cross-section of the object.  As the laser strikes the powder it fuses to create a solid mass representing a single section of the part.  After this cross-section is completed the construct platform reduces by 0.1mm and a new layer of powder is dispersed across the construct platform.  The process repeats until the last thing is”grown” layer by layer.  As un-sintered or lose substance can just be brushed away to leave the model, minimal clean-up is required.

With nominal clean up and turnover times of less than 24 hours offered on the SLS Formiga P100 machine, Selective Laser Sintering integrates perfectly into the production environment.


The selection of materials available through Selective Laser Sintering continues to grow as development and research into Rapid Prototyping technology proceeds, however, some of the most popular SLS materials include.

– PA 2200 – a nylon-based material offering high-temperature resistance and exceptional durability, PA 2200 is acceptable for creating living hinges and snap matches.

– PA 3200 GF – the combination of Nylon and Glass in PA3200 GF creates extremely high-temperature resistant parts with high stiffness and mechanical wear resistance.

– Alumide – characterized by its high durability, metallic look, and good post-processing possessions, alumide is an aluminum filled material.

– PrimePart FR – a fire retardant material offering good dimensional stability.

– PEEK – the world’s first high-performance polymer with elevated temperatures, chemical and wear resistance.

– PrimeCast – polystyrene-based PrimeCast presents excellent surface finish and reduced ash residue, offering an ideal solution for the creation of lost patterns for investment castings.

The brief production lead times alongside the assortment of demanding functional SLS materials available help to explain the rising popularity of Selective Laser Sintering for its creation of a single off or low volume components.