If you are new to the world of physical printing, you may wonder what exactly is SLS 3D printing. Some of the best printers, after all, are 3D printers. Like FFF, SLS printing is a popular sub-type that uses lasers to fuse polymer powders into layers as it builds your object. So how do the best 3D printers work, what exactly is SLS printing, and what are some advantages to this printing method? Keep reading to find out.
Selective laser sintering (SLS) is a 3D printing method that uses lasers to break up the particles of a polymer powder, heating them and fusing them together to build a 3D object, layer by layer. Due to the nature of the design, this is considered a part of the powder bed fusion family of 3D printers. The materials used with these printers are thermoplastic polymers that ship in a granular form, so this type of printer does not use standard filament or resin.
Commercially available SLS printers do exist, but they are on the expensive side when compared to other types.
Before finding the best SLS printer, you need to understand the basics of 3D printing. It all starts with filament or resin, which is extruded via a heated nozzle if you are wondering what materials 3D printers use. This heated building material is placed layer by layer on the print bed if you are learning what is SLA 3D printing.
In this way, the 3D object is slowly built, even if you are still comparing the Sinterit Lisa Pro vs the Fuse 1.
Despite featuring a relatively unusual design and print methodology, there are still plenty of benefits to choosing an SLS printer for various tasks.
True, this is a benefit primarily for industrial manufacturers and bigwig businesses, but rapid prototyping is still extremely important. Regular consumers can quickly prototype objects to sell on Etsy or to give as gifts. SLS printers offer some serious advantages when building quick and dirty prototypes, such as an increase in the quality of the generated parts. In other words, SLS printers are great for building concept-to-trial models.
STAT: In SLS 3D printing, a laser selectively sinters the particles of a polymer powder, fusing them together and building a part, layer by layer. (source)
SLS printers are highly accurate, even when building overly complex objects. They are great for building items with complex shapes and geometries. Additionally, the thermoplastic polymers used with these printers integrate nicely with a wide variety of finishes and lead times. In other words, SLS printers are highly versatile, in addition to being accurate and great at complex print jobs.