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Selective laser sintering

The process

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a 3D printing process that uses laser radiation as an energy source to make 3D objects out of plastic. In the first step, a thin layer of powder is applied to the build platform using a squeegee, a combination of several squeegees, or a roller. The layer thicknesses range from 0.05 mm to 0.15 mm, depending on the resolution and installation. After the powder is applied uniformly, the construction chamber is heated to just below the melting range of the respective plastic and melted locally by a laser at the points where the component is to be formed. Subsequently, the build platform lowers by one layer of thickness and the process begins anew. The process repeats until the last layer of the 3D model has been printed.

Advantages

  • Functional products made of various engineering plastics (PA12, PA11, PA6, TPU, PEEK)
  • Greatest possible design freedom – no support structures or materials necessary
  • Components offer high mechanical strength and temperature resistance
  • Properties of the workpieces are close to the injection-molded part
  • No mechanical aging of the components
  • Material qualified for food application
  • Good finishing possibilities
  • Components well paintable and dyeable

Materials

Polyamide (PA) plastics are materials that feature long-term stability and resistance to mechanical stress. They are also highly resistant to many chemicals and are available in nearly all colors. We can produce impermeable objects on request. In addition to unfilled plastics, PROTIQ also uses filled, soft and hightemperature plastics.

Read More Download Material Datasheet

PA11 (PA1101)

Characteristics

PA1101 is characterized by its high flexibility and resistance to chemicals. Due to its properties, the whitish polyamide-11 powder is predominantly used for functional prototypes which are intended to withstand thermal and mechanical stress.

Base color white
Price
2/10
Precision
4/10
Stability
4/10
Flexibility
8/10
Surface
6/10
Feel rough, light

PA12 (PA2200)

Characteristics

DThe fine powder is based on polyamide 12 and is often used as a substitute material for injection molding materials and fully functional components. A slightly rough surface is a characteristic of PA2200 objects.

Base color white
Price
2/10
Precision
4/10
Stability
4/10
Flexibility
7/10
Surface
6/10
Feel rough, light

PA12 (PA 3200 GF)

Characteristics

The glass bead-filled powder PA3200 is based on polyamide 12. It is particularly suitable for areas where high stiffness, mechanic wear resistance and heat resistance are requirements.

Base color beige/grayish
Price
2/10
Precision
4/10
Stability
5/10
Flexibility
8/10
Surface
6/10
Feel rough, sandy, matt, light

PA12 (ALUMIDE)

Characteristics

The polyamide-12-based, aluminium-filled powder is typically used in the manufacturing of stiff components with metallic appearance. In addition to the metallic appearance, the high dimensional stability and temperature resistance are among the properties of Alumide.

Base color gray/silver
Price
2/10
Precision
3/10
Stability
4/10
Flexibility
5/10
Surface
5/10
Feel rough, sandy, light

PA12 (PRIMEPART PLUS 2221)

Characteristics

Typical applications for PrimePart PLUS 2221 are fully functional components and the use as a substitute materials for injection molding materials. Polyamide-12-based objects usually have a rather rough surface structure.

Base color natural
Price
2/10
Precision
4/10
Stability
4/10
Flexibility
7/10
Surface
6/10
Feel rough, leicht

PA12 (PA2241 FR)

Characteristics

PA2241 FR features a halogen-free, chemical flame retardant and is based on polyamide 12. Due to the flame retardant properties, it is often used for insulating applications.

Base color white
Price
2/10
Precision
4/10
Stability
4/10
Flexibility
7/10
Surface
6/10
Feel rough, finely structured,light

TPU X92A-1

Characteristics

The thermoplastic material TPU X92A-1 is characterized by its elasticity and abrasion resistance and is therefore particularly suitable to produce flexible components such as hoses and seals.

Base color natural
Price
2/10
Precision
2/10
Stability
2/10
Flexibility
10/10
Surface
5/10
Feel rough, rough structured, sandy, light

PEK HP3

Characteristics

The high-performance polymer PEEK HP3 is a semi-crystalline, thermoplastic material. Its properties include very high temperature resistance, chemical resistance and wear resistance. The material is used as a metal substitute in industries with high quality standards such as aerospace, medical and motor sports.

Base color beige/brownish
Price
10/10
Precision
4/10
Stability
6/10
Flexibility
7/10
Surface
6/10
Feel slightly rough, woody

Selective laser sintering in application

The result of laser sintering are three-dimensional objects in almost every imaginable shape, which are characterized by high mechanical strength and resistance to chemicals. These properties open up a variety of fields of application – in the automotive industry, special machine construction, medical technology, interior design, and aerospace engineering, for example.

Developed for prototype construction

The original core application of the method is professional rapid prototyping, in which sample components are manufactured based on CAD design data and without tools. Since the development and production of molds is eliminated, functional models can be produced extremely economically and with very short delivery times. Design adjustments can be made directly in the 3D data if needed, to allow a new model to be created as part of the development process without any waste of time. Cost and time required for a product launch (keyword: time-to-market) can be significantly reduced that way.

Produce individual components without additional tools

Thanks to the high resistance of the material, the precision of the manufacturing process and the constructive freedom, laser sintering is also becoming increasingly popular in pre-production and small-batch production (rapid manufacturing), where it has established itself alongside production techniques such as turning, milling, and injection molding. Small batches or individual components can be produced quickly and accurately in any quantity using this process. The elimination of tool changes and set-up times is clearly noticeable here. Added to this is the advantage of reduced material consumption in contrast to ablative manufacturing processes. Subsequent dipping processes or coatings will give the printed objects the desired appearance and surface structure.

Benefit from great design freedom

The complexity of the innovative production technology is virtually limitless, as almost every product idea can be realized by means of laser sintering. Since no support structures are required in this method, any three-dimensional geometries can be generated. Internal structures and undercuts can be simply designed in, which avoids an initial awkward assembly of the different functional parts, and allows the component to be produced in one step. Laser sintering continues to offer its advantages even after market launch, since changes to the product can be made at any time without any problems. Cost-effective replicas of discontinued spare parts are feasible even after the actual end of the product life cycle.

Technical information

  • Wall thicknesses from 0.45 mm
  • Layer thicknesses 60 μm, 100 μm and 125 μm
  • Components with dimensions up to 660 mm x 360 mm x 550 mm can be produced in one piece
  • Tolerances: +/- 0,7 %, min. 0,1 mm

Limitations

  • Slightly rough surface of 3D objects (due to powder grain size)
  • Medium detail picture
  • Components may yellow over time if the surface is not treated

Are your 3D files ready?

Just upload your data. All files are automatically checked and optimized for printing.


Do you have any questions?

We will be happy to advise you personally regarding your 3D project.