An American businessman, inventor, and teacher named Dr. Carl Deckard developed and patented SLS technology in the mid-1980s. It’s a 3D printing technique that uses high power CO2 lasers to fuse particles together. The laser sinters powdered metal materials (though it can utilize other materials too, like white nylon powder, ceramics and even glass). Here’s how it works:
The build platform, or bed, lowers incrementally with each successive laser scan. It’s a process that repeats one layer at a time until it reaches the object’s height. There is un-sintered support from other powders during the build process that surround and protect the model. This means the 3D objects don’t need other support structures during the build. Someone will remove the un-sintered powders manually after printing. SLS produces durable, high precision parts, and it can use a wide range of materials. It’s a perfect technology for fully-functional, end-use parts and prototypes. SLS is quite similar to SLA technology with regards to speed and quality. The main difference is with the materials, as SLS uses powdered substances, whereas SLA uses liquid resins. It’s this wide variety of available materials that makes SLA technology so popular for printing customized objects.
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