SLS 3D printing: Everything you need to know


SLS 3D printing: Everything you need to know

SLS 3D printing is a 3D printing technology used for the production of complex and durable components.

SLS 3D printing, also known as selective laser sintering, is a self-supporting additive manufacturing process. In other words, it creates objects layer by layer without needing any additional support structures. It does so by using a powerful laser that selectively sinters thermoplastic polymer powders. SLS 3D printing offers high accuracy, flexibility in design, quick turnaround times, and a wide variety of finishes. It is a popular choice for rapid prototyping and custom manufacturing. While it is susceptible to shrinkage, wrapping, and over-sintering, it offers several advantages over other 3D printing technologies such as FDM or SLA. 

The Pros and Cons


  • Ability to produce complex shapes and freeform geometries
  • High accuracy
  • Wide variety of materials and finishes
  • Superior tensile strength
  • Does not require support structures
  • Any remaining powder can be recollected and reused
  • Can print movable objects


  • Susceptible to shrinkage and wrapping
  • Loss of detail may occur due to oversintering
  • Cannot print large flat surfaces and small holes accurately
  • May require post-processing due to the grainy finish and porosity
  • Not as flexible as SLA prints

SLS 3D printing applications

The most commonly used material in SLS 3D printing is production-grade nylon. Parts made using this technology are durable and reliable. Moreover, it is capable of creating movable objects such as hinges, mechanical joints, and other complex parts. This makes SLS 3D printing ideal for prototype and production parts. Combined with the fact that it is a fast and efficient method, it can save engineers and manufacturers time and money.

Additionally, SLS 3D printing offers a variety of materials and finishes and a high level of customization. This makes it an ideal choice for different industries. Industries that are particularly keen on this technology include: 

  • Medical 
  • Automotive 
  • Aerospace
  • Military

However, aside from large-scale manufacturing lines, SLS 3D printing can be of great use for small businesses too. While the initial investment in an SLS machine might seem like a lot, over time, thanks to the low cost of materials and quick turnaround times, it pays for itself.

Types of SLS materials

As already mentioned, nylon is the most commonly used material in SLS 3D printing. Specifically, Nylon 12, also known as Polyamide 12 (PA 12). Depending on the machine and the needs of the project, other thermoplastic polymers may also be used. However, most are both more expensive and more taxing to use. For example, Polyamide 11 (PA 11) and PEEK.

Additives such as carbon fibers, glass fibers, or aluminum can also be used, but materials filled with these additives usually end up being more brittle and displaying anisotropic behavior.

Purchasing an SLS 3D printing machine

Due to technological advancements, SLS 3D printers are now more compact and affordable than ever. Before recently, these machines were large and costly and, as such, reserved for a very specific type of customer. Today, several benchtop SLS 3D printers are suitable for offices and affordable for small businesses. Even industrial-sized models are considerably more affordable than their predecessors. So now is a great time to purchase one.

Interested in purchasing an SLS 3D printer? Take a look at our commercial 3D printer catalog! We offer a variety of high-quality devices, and you’re sure to find one that will suit your requirements.

3D printing & engineering services

Need help with your next 3D printing project? Look no further. At NE Solution, we can provide you with a flexible, all-around solution, whether you’re looking for modeling, manufacturing, or consulting. We are here to help you with every step and get you the finished product as quickly as possible.

Our team of mechanical, electrical, and industrial engineering experts will make sure to deliver you the best results possible. Get an instant quote today and start your project the right way!


Why use SLS printing?

SLS 3D printing makes it possible to produce self-supporting, durable, reliable and highly customizable parts quickly and at a low cost. The technology is suitable for a wide range of applications and is a popular choice for engineers and manufacturers due to its advantages over other technologies.

How strong is SLS material?

The most commonly used SLS 3D printing material is Nylon 12, a highly durable thermoplastic polymer. It has great tensile strength, environmental stability, and doesn’t crack easily under stress. Its characteristics can be altered with certain additives to suit more specialized use cases.

Does SLS filament absorb moisture?

Some raw materials used in 3D printing, such as powders, filament, or resin, can absorb moisture. This can change its properties and affect the quality of the final product, especially when plastics are in question. Hence, controlling the humidity levels in all production facilities is essential to preventing moisture damage.

What is SLS 3D printing good for?

SLS 3D printing has a variety of use cases due to its great mechanical properties, durability, quick turnaround times, and low costs of materials. It is particularly beneficial for prototype and production parts that require a high degree of customization, movability, tactile strength, and toughness.

Where to buy SLS printers?

SLS 3D printing devices can be purchased directly from us. We offer a variety of high-quality devices suitable for different applications. Look at our commercial 3D printer catalog to see which would be best for you.

Alternatively, you can also consult with us to discuss your choice before making a decision. Get an instant quote here. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

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