Fused Deposition Modeling vs Selective Laser Sintering Watertightness Test
Will It Leak, or Won’t It?
Prototypes and production parts in as fast as 1 day using Selective Laser Sintering technology
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Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a powerful 3D printing technology that produces highly accurate and durable parts that are capable of being used directly in end-use, low-volume production, or for rapid prototyping.
An additive manufacturing layer technology, Selective Laser Sintering involves the use of a high power laser (for example, a carbon dioxide laser) to fuse small particles of plastic powders into a mass that has a desired three-dimensional shape. The laser selectively fuses powdered material by scanning cross-sections generated from a 3-D digital description of the part (for example from a CAD file or scan data) on the surface of a powder bed. After each cross-section is scanned, the powder bed is lowered by one layer thickness, a new layer of material is applied on top, and the selective laser sintering process is repeated until the part is completed.
Nylon is a durable material with great impact strength, medium flexibility, and high resistance to environmental factors.
Geometries can be built more easily due to the 3D printing process, adding complexity without additional cost.
Parts can typically be shipped in 3-4 days, allowing for faster design iterations and speed to market.
SLS can make a single part or component as easily as dozens of production pieces.
SLS is capable of producing end-use parts on-demand, increasing throughput.
We use the latest generation of SLS technologies to meet tolerances of +/- 0.005” or +/- 0.002” per inch, whichever is greater. Please see our Manufacturing Standards for more details.
SLS parts are de-powdered with a sand blasting process, followed by detailed manual de-powdering for more complex geometries. These parts are left with a surface finish comparable to a sugar cube.
Parts go through the standard de-powdering process and are then media tumbled for several hours. These parts will have reduced grow lines and sharp edges may be softened by the tumbling process. The parts are left with an eggshell finish.
Xometry provides additional SLS finishing options, including but not limited to: color dyeing, sanding, painting and plating to meet your needs. For examples of our additional finishes, please refer to the SLS section of our photo gallery.
The speed and versatility of SLS lets product developers create physical snapshots of their designs through the iterative process.
SLS can be used to create fully-functional prototypes, complete with moving parts, as well as all-in-one assemblies.
The high accuracy and consistency of SLS makes it an ideal way to build large quantities of discrete or customized parts.
Selective laser sintering (SLS) is a powder bed 3D printing technology that produces highly accurate and durable parts capable of being used directly in end-use, low-volume production. SLS is a newer 3D printing process that is often thought of as a cousin to the popular metal 3D printing technology direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). Both processes work by utilizing a laser to precisely fuse a bed of powder to construct a part from a 3D CAD file. SLS specializes in nylon or polyamide powder particles to create parts, while DMLS uses metal particles, and is extremely common for prototyping and low volume production.
SLS is an additive manufacturing layer technology involving the use of a high power laser, which fuses small particles of nylon powder into a three-dimensional shape. The laser selectively fuses powdered material by scanning cross-sections generated from a 3-D digital description of the part (for example from a CAD file or scan data) on the surface of a powder bed. After each cross-section is scanned, the powder bed is lowered by one layer thickness, and a new layer of material is applied on top. This process is repeated until the part is finished.
Selective Laser Sintering can be used to make parts using a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, ceramic, or glass powder, making it a popular machining process. Since SLS doesn’t require a support structure like most other 3D printing tech, parts can be made in greater quantities, but with less labor and material expense. Additionally, because the support structure doesn’t need to be removed, there is less risk of damage to the complex internal geometries 3D manufacturing is capable of producing.
SLS can be useful for both rapid prototyping or small numbers of functional end-use parts. Nylon, especially, is a durable material with great impact strength, medium flexibility, and high resistance to environmental factors. This combination of complexity, design flexibility, material diversity, rapid turnaround, and overall durability makes SLS an increasingly popular choice in many industries.
Xometry can always help you find the ideal supplier for your specific SLS needs. Our wide network of vetted machine shops contains a wide range of dedicated quick turn SLS partners with a variety of high-quality finishing and material capabilities and many types of sintering systems. Finishing options available include color dyeing, sanding, painting, and plating to meet your needs. From low-volume prototyping to high-volume production, Xometry can always help you source the parts you need on time and at a competitive price, from the U.S. machine shops best suited to the job.
Standard layer thickness:
Minimum recommended feature size:
Many industries utilize the fast production, durability, and low cost associated with parts made using SLS—the medical and dental, aerospace, automotive, robotics, and defense industries are a few notable examples. SLS is capable of delivering a wide range of parts from rapid prototypes to end-use parts.
Will It Leak, or Won’t It?
At Xometry, we get a lot of questions about accuracy and feature size when it comes to our many 3D printing processes. So as a team we ran several benchmark tests over various platforms and recorded the results.
Watch our new video for how to leverage the Complexity Paradox to actually lower production costs for more complex parts.
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