Selective Laser Sintering is an additive rapid manufacturing technique that uses a high power laser to fuse small particles of plastic, metal, or ceramic powders into a mass representing a desired 3D object, by scanning cross-sections generated from a 3D digital description.
Compared to other rapid manufacturing methods, SLS can produce parts from a relatively wide range of commercially available powder materials, including:
- polymers (nylon, also glass-filled or with other fillers, and polystyrene)
- metals (steel, titanium, alloy mixtures, and composites)
- green sand.
The physical process can be full melting, partial melting, or liquid-phase sintering, and depending on the material, up to 100% density can be achieved with material properties comparable to those from conventional manufacturing methods. In many cases large numbers of parts can be packed within the powder bed, allowing very high productivity.
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