Selective Laser Sintering
Selective Laser Sintering is a prototyping laser technique that employs thermoplastic powders made of diverse materials, which are synthetized thanks to a laser ray. Thanks to proper rollers, the powders are laid down and compacted, the laser ray will then warm them up until reaching a temperature just inferior to melting temperature, covering only the area selected through slicing, without touching the rest of the powders. This way every section of the object is turned into elaborate shapes, which are planned through 3D software. When the work is finished, excess powders is removed. The object can then be finished by chip removal processing, coloring or metallization.
This technology permits to widely accelerate the prototyping process, to manage quickly possible changes and realize complex shapes containing even sub-frames or internal holes, which are difficult to generate through traditional technologies. Through SLS, it is possible to obtain high performance prototypes, with functional characteristics that are similar to the final object, for assembly inspections, dimension or shape tests. By applying this technology it is possible to review a project and its development before production and to verify its functionality and appearance in a very flexible manner.
Depending on the selected material (Alumide, Polyamide, Glass Filled Polyamide, Carbonmide o Similarly Rubber) it is possible to obtain objects capable to offer performances with high mechanical profile or simple models. This technology is highly appreciated from companies not requiring a large production, therefore we often use rapid prototyping for “micro-productions,” aiming at creating a series of (even not identical) pieces without using moulds or other machinery.
Rapid prototyping is different from the traditional techniques of mechanic processing that subtract material to obtain the wanted shape from an initial block by chip-removing. Rapid prototyping techniques operate using the opposite concept that is based on addition of material, layer by layer.