So, What Exactly is Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)?

It’s just what we do all day!

There are a few different 3D printing methods, though most are not frequently used. What you see for sale at home improvement stores is what is referred to as fused deposition modeling. The process we use here is called selective laser sintering, or SLS for short. SLS is an additive manufacturing technology, which may not mean much to you now, but we’ll try to translate it into English.

SLS Process


The SLS process utilizes a high power laser to fuse plastic powders together. Layer by layer, the laser creates solid objects from powder. The powder can be metal, plastic, ceramic, or glass. The laser makes a pass over the build platform, selectively melting one cross-section layer, essentially “drawing” the desired design. The powder fuses, and then the laser forms the next layer on top. This sort of 3D printing is done to create finished prototypes, which we do a lot of, but it’s not the only thing SLS can do; it also creates functional end-use components. SLS has many applications, and the possibilities are endless!

Some other interesting aspects of SLS:

  • Multiple items can be printed at the same time, which reduces printing costs.
  • Materials can be reused and recycled.
  • Items printed are bead blasted to remove excess material after printing.
  • Further finishing can be done after printing for function or aesthetics.  

Interested in more in-depth information on the SLS process we do here? Check out our SLS Process page. Would you like to know if your project is appropriate for SLS? There’s only one way to find out! Give us a call at (503) 434-8557, or send us some details for a free quote.

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