You already know about 3D Printing – How about Selective Laser Sintering?

March 9, 2017 at 6:44 AM Leave a comment

3D has evidently changed the way businesses, manufacturers, and individuals do everything from conceptualizing ideas to building revolutionary inventions that will shape the future. You’ve heard of 3D printing, but what is selective laser sintering (SLS)?

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is the process of transforming digital designs into three-dimensional, physical objects. It is an affordable and convenient way to make prototypes and even finished products ready for retailing or use. 3D SLS printers from Konica Minolta, for instance, are very popular with inventors, hobbyist and especially businesses who are looking to leverage the use of such devices.

What is selective laser sintering?

SLS machines can print objects in a variety of materials, including glass, ceramics, and even metal. This makes it a popular process for creating both prototypes as well as final products.

How SLS works

SLS machines make use of a high-powered laser, usually made of carbon dioxide, to fuse a powdered plastic, ceramic, glass, metal, or alloy together to form a physical 3D object. Prior to the process, a computer-aided design (CAD) file or digital design of the product.

The design then is broken down by the machine program into a number of cross-sections. The printer will quickly build these one after the other, piling them on top of each other until the final product is finished.

After the cross-sections have been processed, the material is laid across the build platform. The laser will then fuse the material together into the form of the first cross-section. After a cross-section is finished, the next layer of material is placed, and the second cross-section is fused on top of it. This will continue until every cross-section has been laid and fused together.

How SLS useful for businesses

SLS is particularly useful for industries that require only a small number of objects printed in high-quality materials. For instance, in the aerospace industry, engineers are able to build cheap prototypes to be used for airplane crafts.

Since airplanes are built in small quantities and remain in service for long periods of time, it won’t be cost-effective for companies to produce or buy physical molds for airplane parts because they will be too expensive to make and would need a long-time storage without being corroded or damaged.

Through SLS, companies can create prototypes that are stored digitally as .STL files, which is available later for reprint or redesign. And because SLS machines are capable of printing in a range of high-quality materials, from food-grade ceramic to flexible plastic.

SLS is also capable of printing customized products, such as dental retainers, hearing aids, and even prosthetics. And because objects printed using SLS don’t require moulds or additional tools, this manufacturing method is also very useful for businesses that withes to print a high complex or particularly delicate object.

End Note

There are currently many companies around the world that uses SLS machines to provide their clients with prototypes and high-quality finished products. 3D SLS printers from Konica Minolta are one of the best machines available in the market right now. If you’re in the business of manufacturing, then you should strongly consider the use of 3D printing to streamline your processes.

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