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The Complete Guide To Laser Sintering (a.k.a. Selective Laser Sintering)

What Is Laser Sintering?

Laser Sintering is a powder bed fusion 3D printing process. Watch our Laser Sintering Technology Video to learn more about How Laser Sintering Works.

Materials

3D print parts with Nylon 11 and Nylon 12 using LS. Get a Quote, Get Design Services, or use our Material Wizard to get additional answers about making your part with LS.

Applications

The most common applications of Laser Sintering are Production Parts, Functional Prototyping and ECS Ducting.

Solutions

Our team has decades of experience with 3D printing and knows how to use Laser Sintering to make your specific application. Contact an Engineer to start your project.

Resources

Read our Bell Helicopter Case Study about Laser Sintered ECS ducts, our 3D Printing with Thermoplastics article and our Insider's Guide to Laser Sintering white paper.

FAQs

Got questions about Laser Sintering? We've got answers.

What Is Laser Sintering?

a green duct 3d printed using selective laser sinteringLaser Sintering (LS) is a way to build prototypes early in the design cycle or production parts in a wide variety of applications.

Laser Sintering (LS), also known as Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), creates tough and geometrically complex components for batch or serial manufacturing in a wide variety of applications.

LS production parts are strong, water and air-tight, heat resistant and repeatable.

Prototypes to Production Parts with LS

This robust process can build parts for all stages of the production lifecycle, from prototyping to low-volume manufacturing opportunities.

LS builds robust parts with filled Nylon materials, making it an ideal process for applications such as duct work, fuel tanks and brackets, as well as functional prototyping.

Go Beyond Conventional with Laser Sintering

With the ability to produce complex features, under cuts and internal structures, LS can consolidate multiple components with ease.

How Does Laser Sintering Work?

LS builds with a CO₂ laser that melts cross-sections of a CAD design in powdered material.

While being built, LS parts remain encased in an unsintered powder bed, replacing the need for support structures.

Without support structures, designers can easily add undercuts and internal features and reduce post-processing time.

Laser Sintering Quality Assurance

Our quality systems ensure consistent handling and recycling of materials along with machine maintenance and process control limits.

This provides material traceability, mechanical property verification, dimensional and other performance criteria checks to ensure the parts we deliver meet customer specifications repeatedly.

Engineering-Grade Laser Sintering Materials

LS provides a full range of engineering-grade thermoplastics well-suited for high requirement applications.

Materials for 3D Printing Parts with Laser Sintering

Long use cycles and part fatigue have met their match. Depend on our standard Nylon 11 and Nylon 12 materials and variety of reinforced nylons with property-enhancing fillers for light-weight, highly durable and heat and chemical resistant parts.

Material

Description Benefits Applications Properties

Flex TPE

Combination of TPE and elastomeric polyurethane for Shore 40A and 70A flexibility & functionality
  • Quick functional prototypes with elastomeric properties
  • Compression seals
  • ECS ducting
  • Protective boots and shields for ruggedizing sensitive equipment
-

Nylon 11 EX

Next generation Nylon 11 with the elongation and impact strength of the original but with better surface finish and feature definition
  • Impact-resistant nylon 11
  • Outstanding toughness
  • Accurate and repeatable manufacturability
  • Toughness similar to molded ABS and polypropylene
  • Complex ductwork
  • Snap-fit designs
  • Living hinges
  • Thin-walled components
DATASHEET

Nylon 11 FR

Flame, smoke & toxicity (FST) certified Nylon 11 per FAR 25.853
  • Polyamide composite with excellent fire retardancy
  • Passes FAR 25.853 12 Second and 30 Second Burn tests
  • Exceptional elongation at break
  • Passes FAR 25.853 Smoke Density test
  • Aerospace production parts
  • Underhood components
  • Well suited for demanding applications which require flame retardancy
DATASHEET

Nylon 11

Original high elongation and impact strength LS material specified in many aerospace products
  • High-elongation and impact strength for toughness
  • Qualified for low to mid volume production
  • Aerospace production parts
  • Best suited for ducting and other applications requiring high elongation and impact strength
  • Motorsports, consumer and sporting goods
  • Prototype living hinge designs
DATASHEET

Nylon 12 PA

General purpose Nylon 12 with good surface finish and feature definition with less deformation than Nylon 11
  • Excellent surface resolution/feature details
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Low moisture absorption
  • Produce durable production parts without tooling
  • Housings and enclosures
  • Impellers, connectors, complex ductwork and snap-fit designs
  • Low volume end-use parts
  • Complex production plastic parts
DATASHEET

Nylon 12 FR

Flame, smoke & toxicity (FST) certified Nylon 12 per FAR 25.853
  • Material passes 60 second vertical burn test
  • Best accuracy & surface finish of available fire retardant materials
  • Aerospace applications requiring excellent mechanical strength
  • Underhood components
  • Applications requiring fire retardant properties
DATASHEET

Nylon 12 GF

Glass-filled Nylon 12 with higher tensile modulus & HDT
  • Glass filled Nylon 12 material
  • Excellent mechanical stiffness
  • Elevated temperature resistance
  • Dimensionally stable
  • Housings and enclosures
  • Consumer sporting goods
  • Complex prototype plastic parts
  • Form, fit, or functional prototypes
DATASHEET

Nylon 12 CF

Electrostatically dissipative with high strength-to-weight ratio
  • Carbon fiber filled Nylon 12
  • Resistance to extreme temperatures and wear
  • Optimal reproduction of detail
  • High stiffness, high tensile strength
  • Electrostatically dissipative
  • Underhood components
  • Wind tunnel display models
  • Well suited to applications which require superior thermal properties, with maximum performance and an extremely high SLS strength to weight ratio
DATASHEET

Nylon 12 GSL

Like properties of Nylon 12 CF with and additional benefit of being lighter in weight
  • Lightweight Nylon 12 material with carbon fiber
  • High strength-to-weight ratio
  • Excellent surface finish and detail
  • Suited for higher temperature uses
  • Athletic equipment
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)
  • Other transportation components with strength-to-weight performance criteria
DATASHEET

Nylon 12 HST

High strength and high temperature mineral fiber-filled plastic
  • Nylon 12 material with mineral fiber
  • Elevated temperature resistance
  • High stiffness
  • Non-conductive; RF transparent
  • Structural components
  • Enclosures
  • Load-bearing applications at elevated temperatures
DATASHEET

Nylon 12 AF

Aluminum-filled Nylon 12 for the appearance of aluminum; also has electrostatic dissipative properties
  • Aluminum filled composite polyamide producing strong, stiff parts with a grey metallic appearance
  • Improved tensile modulus and flex modulus
  • Good wear resistance and detail reproduction
  • Suitable for parts requiring superior surface finish
  • Illustrative models with metallic appearance
  • Jigs and fixtures like tools and trays used for manufacture of electronics
DATASHEET

Get a Quote

Ready to make your part with LS? Upload your CAD file now to select your material and generate an instant quote.

Get a Quote

Get Design Services

Need some assistance with your 3D design? Our design services team offers a suite of solutions, including file creation and file repair.

Get Design Services

Use Material Wizard

Want to compare LS material properties? Use our material wizard to find out which materials meet your part's requirements.

Use Material Wizard

Laser Sintering Applications

selective laser sintering production parts

Production Parts

LS production parts can be strong, water and air-tight and made out of engineering-grade thermoplastics.

Read More

selective laser sintering functional prototyping

Functional Prototyping

LS is an ideal technology for complex components needed in functional prototyping.

Read More

selective laser sintering ecs ducting

ECS Ducting

LS produces strong, complex ducts with interior features using FST-rated materials with superior heat resistance.

Read More

Trusted Precision with Laser Sintering

an engineer holds a silver part manufactured using the selective laser sintering 3d printing processPrecise LS parts result from more than machine operations; they take a team of experts dedicated to the technology.

At Stratasys Direct we work to validate all methods and materials in order to ensure perfect parts, every time.

Years of experience working with LS has led us to develop excellent post-processing methods to offer functional and cosmetic component.

Laser Sintering Experience in Your Corner

We have nearly thirty years in the industry and a team of engineers ready to assist with every step of your project.

With quality certifications ISO 9001 and AS9100 and ITAR registration, we won’t rest until your project requirements are met.

Not sure where to start? Our experts are here to help.

Contact an Engineer

Laser Sintering Resources

bell helicopter

Developing Flight-Ready Parts

Bell Helicopter reaps rewards from utilizing LS for ECS components.

Bell needed helicopter parts quickly and with a repeatable processes at a competitive cost with conventional manufacturing. Stratasys Direct finds the answer.

Read Case Study
Key Considerations when 3D Printing with Thermoplastics

Key Considerations when 3D Printing with Thermoplastics

Learn the key differences of 3D printing thermoplastics and related design considerations

Learn the key differences of 3D printing thermoplastics and related design considerations

Read the Article
An Insider’s Guide to Laser Sintering

An Insider’s Guide to Laser Sintering

Discover the most important design considerations for any Laser Sintering project

Read the White Paper

Frequently Asked Questions About Laser Sintering

an engineer holds a 3d printed sls partWhat geometries are best suited for LS?

LS is ideal for components with extremely complex geometries, including parts with internal cavities.

Parts that are produced with LS remain encased in powdered material, which is self-supporting thereby eliminating the need for additional supportive structures on or within the components.

What level of detail can be obtained with LS?

Laser Sintering can produce a layer thickness of 0.004”- 0.006” and an X/Y resolution of 0.030” – 0.050”. We recommend all LS parts have a minimum wall thickness of 0.040”.

See the LS design guidelines for more details.

What is the largest part size you can make with LS?

The build platform for our largest LS machine is 26.5”x13.5”x20”. Parts that exceed those dimensions can be built in sections and bonded.

Bonding lines introduce a degree of consistency in regards to mechanical performance.

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