Selective Laser Sintering – SLS
SLS technology uses a laser to harden and bond small grains of plastic, ceramic, or other materials into layers in a 3D dimensional structure. The laser traces the pattern of each cross section based on the 3D design onto a bed of powder. After one layer is built, the bed lowers and another layer is built on top of the existing layers. The bed then continues to lower until every layer is built and the part is complete. One of the major benefits of SLS is that it doesn’t require the support structures that many other additive manufacturing technologies require to prevent the design from collapsing during production. Since the product lies in a bed of powder, no supports are necessary. This characteristic alone, while also conserving materials, means that SLS is capable of producing geometries that other technology cannot. In addition, one needs not to worry about damaging the part while removing supports, where complex interior components and complete parts could be built. As a result, one could save time on assembly. As with other 3D printing technologies, there’s no need to account for the problem of tool clearance that subtractive methods often encounter.
SLS is capable of producing highly durable parts for real-world testing with highly complex geometries. Parts produced using SLS are durable, which could be used for high-heat and chemically resistant applications. Additionally, parts produced using SLS are impact-resistant for rigorous use and are ideal for snap fits.
Some of the other medical marvels accomplished using SLS 3D Print technology include surgery planning for human face reconstruction to help those with bone and birth defects or those who sustained injuries. Additionally, 3D printed dentures that could be printed on demand.
SLS 3D printing technology enables designers to refine and perfect their designs by enabling a relatively inexpensive way for them to test their design and think with their hands. For example, producing a unique honey comb sole that is excellent for impact and shock resistance, where SLS is being developed to produce the final product rather than just being restricted to rapid prototyping modelling.