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News & Views
All additive manufacturing pieces require some sort of final processing when they come off of the machine. In some cases, finishing is as simple as lightly sanding the areas where support structures were attached. In other cases, innovative finishing techniques are delivering beautiful end-use parts rugged enough to stand up to real-world impacts.Read More
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“ProtoCAM's turnaround times are exceptional, and their prices compared to others are always better. There's a lot more value added in working with ProtoCAM.” — Matthew Bellenoit, B. Braun Medical
“ProtoCAM's best attribute is their attention to detail and customer service. Their willigness and desire to keep in touch with me is impressive, and physical walkthroughs ensure me quality standards are being met.” — Todd Frick, Clair Brothers Audio Systems
“There are many companies in the rapid prototyping business that are automated and there’s no personal interface. That's the big difference between ProtoCAM and other companies.” — Jim Eldon, Design Associates
“I’ve worked with a lot of different rapid prototype houses and I've consistently ended up back at ProtoCAM. Quality is key and they deliver consistently. They’ve given us a significant advantage over our competitors.” — Dan Dunham, XOS
“When we need to make a change, ProtoCAM always accomplishes it accurately. We see the results we planned on consistently. They do a very good job providing quality products.” — Rory Kiphart, Biomet
In selective laser sintering (commonly known as “SLS” or “LS”), 3D parts are created by fusing (“sintering”) powdered materials with an infrared laser beam. The result is strong, durable and machinable parts with thermoplastic material properties similar to those of injection molded prototypes.
Our Selective Laser Sintering Work
The use of selective laser sintering prototyping (commonly called SLS prototyping or 3D SLS prototyping) is ideal for product prototypes that require exceptional strength, or must closely approximate the properties of thermoplastics.
In selective laser sintering (SLS), three-dimensional parts are created by fusing (“sintering”) powdered thermoplastic materials such as nylon and elastomers with the heat from an infrared laser beam. Thin powder layers are repeatedly laser sintered, creating the desired 3D piece based on a 3D CAD model.
Watch an video of SLS:
There are several key differences between prototypes created using selective laser sintering (SLS) and prototypes created with stereolithography (SLA). These include:
- Prototype strength: SLS prototypes are generally stronger and more durable than SLA prototypes.
- Material properties: SLS allows product prototypes to be created with material properties similar to those of injection molded prototypes.
- Surface finish: SLS prototypes have a powdery finish, unlike SLA prototypes, which are smoother.
- Machining properties: It is easier to machine prototypes created using SLS than those created using SLA.
- Material choice: SLS allows for product prototypes in many different thermoplastic materials.
- Metal product prototypes: SLS can be used to create metal prototype parts using metallic powder in the laser sintering process. See the Metal Prototyping page for more information on metal SLS options.
- Post-completion processing: There is typically very little (if any) processing required after the SLS process is completed.
Typical SLS Use Cases
Machine prototypes Form/fit models Architectural models Performance testing Design verification Click here to see available finishes.