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Laser Sintering (SLS)

SLS: Prototyping to Production

SLS allows making very complex geometries directly from digital CAD data. Although it began as a way to build prototype parts early in the design cycle, it can also be used in limited-run manufacturing to produce end-use parts.

The SLS Process

SLS prototyping uses a high power laser to fuse small particles of powdered material into a desired three-dimensional shape. The laser selectively fuses powdered material by scanning cross-sections generated from a 3D digital description of the part (such as from a CAD file) on the surface of a powder bed. After each cross-section is scanned, the powder bed is lowered by the thickness of one layer (0.004 inch), a new layer of material is applied on top, and the process is repeated until the part is complete.

When Does an SLS Prototype Make Sense for Your Job?

SLS prototyping is useful for creating both prototypes/patterns and functional components such as living hinges and working assemblies that can’t be produced with other rapid prototyping methods. SLS prototypes are often built with rugged materials that can withstand the wear and tear of functional testing, such as nylon, glass-filled nylon, or flame retardant nylon. They’re a good choice for applications that require high heat and chemical resistance.

Depending on the material used, SLS parts as large as 22 x 22 x 30 inches can be created. However, parts with larger dimensions are also available; we can cut and bond SLS parts in post-processing to produce larger assemblies.

Accuracy is 0.010-in for the first inch and 0.003-in. per inch thereafter.

SLS Prototype Materials

  • DuraForm® PA Plastic:
    • Durable polyamide (nylon) material
    • Provides excellent surface resolution and feature detail
    • Compliant with USP Class VI testing
    • Compatible with autoclave sterilization
    • Good chemical resistance and low moisture absorption
    • Suitable for complex, thin-wall ductwork
    • Ideal for functional prototypes that approach end-use performance properties
    • Compatible with medical applications requiring USP Class VI compliance or biocompatibility
  • DuraForm GF Plastic:
    • Glass-filled polyamide (nylon) material
    • Excellent mechanical stiffness
    • Elevated temperature resistance
    • Dimensionally stable
    • Nice surface finish
    • Excels in load-bearing applications at higher temperatures
    • Improved isotropic shrinkage due to glass filler
  • DuraForm EX Plastic:
    • Good surface finish
    • Durable polyamide (nylon) material
    • Suitable for complex, thin-wall ductwork
    • Excellent for living hinges, and snap-fit designs
    • Ideal for parts that require end-use performance
    • Provides excellent surface resolution and feature detail

SLS Protoytping and Prototype Materials Chart


  • Design review
  • Fit & function tests
  • Show models
  • Low volume production
  • Snap features

Choose The Best Rapid Prototyping Option For Your Next Project.

SLS prototype