Prototyping guide: Selective Laser Sintering prototyping

Guide to SLS

What is Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) prototyping? 

Selective Laser Sintering is a 3D Printing technology used for rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing of 3D parts with complex shapes and geometries. 

A wide of range of part sizes is possible with SLS, as well as a choice of finishing and turnaround options to suit most requirements. 

Did you know?

SLS and SLA were first developed in the 80’s and commercialised in the early 90’s. 

How does SLS work? 

SLS prototype parts are built in successive layers on a base plate in the SLS machine. Each layer is then laser fused and shaped to produce a 3D printed part with a range of properties. 

The complex shapes achievable with this process means that SLS prototyping is applicable across a range of industry sectors. SLS can be used to manufacture production parts for use in working models and finished products, as well as for prototype parts. 

What applications are possible for SLS parts? 

This high level of accuracy means SLS is an ideal choice for all stages of the production process, from concept model through to presentation and testing models and can also be used for production parts where low volumes of parts are required. 

  • Cases/Enclosures 
  • Brackets 
  • Ducting 

What material is used for SLS parts? 

PA 2200 (base PA12) material is used for producing SLS parts. It is a fine, white powder with a well-balanced property profile that is ideal for a wide variety of applications. Typical applications of PA 2200 are fully functional, high quality plastic parts. 

Its excellent mechanical properties make the material an ideal substitute for common injection moulding plastics. Its biocompatibility allows its use in medical applications e.g. for prostheses, and its high abrasion resistance means it can be used for development of parts with movable components. 

What are the benefits of PA 2200 for SLS? 

Laser-sintered parts made from PA 2200 possess excellent material properties including: 

  • High strength and stiffness
  • Fully functional, high quality plastic parts
  • Excellent mechanical properties, ideal substitute for common injection moulding plastics 
  • High abrasion resistance, ideal for use in development of parts with movable components 
  • Excellent long-term stability 
  • High selectivity and detail resolution 
  • Biocompatible according to EN ISO 10993-1 and USP/level VI/121°c, allowing its use in medical applications e.g. for prostheses
  • Approved for food contact in compliance with the EU plastics directive 2002/72/EC (exception: foodstuffs with high alcohol content)
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Ecological valuation – US Pharmacopeia Class VI Approved

What finishing options are available for SLS parts? 

SLS nylon parts can be finished post production to provide an enhanced surface smoothing. This is useful when combined with dye or spray paint application on production parts for finished product. 

Finishing options for SLS parts typically include: 

  • Smoothing 
  • Dyeing 
  • Spray painting 
  • Lacquering 

Download our SLS datasheet to find out more

Can we help bring your project to life? 

Prototype Projects is a UK-based prototyping bureau delivering high quality prototype parts in fast turnaround times. Our next day dispatch service is available for SLA, SLS, FDM and PolyJet parts. We offer a precision dyeing service for SLS parts, and a surface texturing service for SLS and SLA prototype parts. 


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