What is Selective Laser Sintering Used For?

What is selective laser sintering 3D printing and what is it used for? These are questions we have been asked in the past. We have, therefore, created this question and answer guide on the topic, which we hope you find useful.

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Selective laser sintering has applications such as 3D printing of skeletal anatomy

About selective laser sintering

Selective laser sintering (often abbreviated to SLS) is a type of additive manufacturing process. The technology was established in the 1980s and has been commercially used since the 1990s.

SLS doesn’t involve metallic additive manufacturing, as metallic processing is either through direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) or selective laser melting. For more information including how SLS works read our additive manufacturing processes article.

Instead, SLS primarily works with polymers such as polyamides, polycarbonates, polystyrenes as well as thermoplastics.

Selective laser sintering applications

There are a wide range of selective laser sintering applications, we list some of them below:

  • Anatomical models – used often in healthcare and dental settings, anatomical models include dummies, pre-operative planning models and training aids
  • First to market – SLS is often used to beat the competition and be the “first to market” with a new product
  • Parts manufacturing in a diversity of materials, in industries such as aerospace and automotive
  • Patterns – including mould inserts, casting and foundry patterns
  • Product testing – performance evaluation and sometimes environment testing (e.g. temperature)
  • Prosthetics – SLS is perfect for producing prosthetics and orthodontic parts
  • Rapid (on demand) manufacturing – SLS enables items to be rapidly manufactured across a range of industries
  • Rapid prototyping – including proof of concepts, functional prototyping, early concept models and physical models for design evaluation purposes
  • Short production runs – producing parts which are required in small quantities, maybe limited editions or country variant models or perhaps personalised gifts and samples
  • Wind tunnel test models
  • Tooling production – including jigs, fixtures and a variety of tooling


Contact SPI Lasers to discuss additive manufacturing

Laser sintering is one of numerous additive manufacturing processes, which in turn is one of the many laser applications you can complete with our pulsed and continuous wave fiber lasers.

Contact SPI Lasers now, for friendly and informative advice on how to implement selective laser sintering and other additive manufacturing processes into your organisation. When you buy an SPI Laser, you invest in versatility!


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