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Laser Sintering

Table of Contents

What is Laser Sintering?

Laser Sintering (LS), also known as Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), is an industrial additive manufacturing process that uses powdered thermoplastics (typically nylon) precisely fused by a high-powered laser. The Laser Sintering team can produce the prototypes or parts as fast as one day, cleaned of excess powder, and ready for use or a higher level of finishing.

Additionally, Laser Sintering can create challenging, geometrically complex components. With automated vapor smoothing, these production parts are water-tight, air-tight, heat-resistant, strong, and easy to reproduce. Nylon also can produce living hinges and flexible end-use parts and can be easily dyed in various colors. Industries that take advantage of Laser Sintering are aerospace/defense, automotive, consumer products, and medical/sciences.

How does Laser Sintering work?

Our AM Technicians upload your CAD file, and the software breaks it down layer by layer. In an enclosed chamber heated to just below the powdered material’s melting point, a CO2 laser draws each layer of the part onto the powder bed, fusing the material. When the laser finishes, a roller rolls a new thin layer of powder onto the powder bed, and the process repeats until the parts are complete.  

After the build finishes, the whole powder bed is removed and taken to a breakout station where the AM Technicians manually remove each part and brush off the excess powder. Then the components are placed into a container and blasted with a blasting medium to remove any remaining powder. Following this step is complete, the parts go to the finishing department, where they can be sanded, primed, and painted, or we can apply any other finishing techniques we offer.  

Note: Laser Sintering or Selective Laser Sintering does not need support structures.  

Laser Sintering Diagram

Ideal applications for Laser Sintering

Since Laser Sintering has mechanical properties similar to injection molding, it can produce components in various industries. It’s suitable for parts throughout the product development cycle, from prototypes to end-use components. 

Form, Fit, and Concept Models

Architectural Models

Performance Testing

Complex Geometries

Part Consolidation

Jigs and Fixtures

Snap-Fit Joints

Living Hinges

Housings and Enclosures

Laser Sintering at Midwest Prototyping


EOS and 3D Systems

Max Build Area:

26 x 13.5 x 21.8 in

Lead Time:

3 – 5 Days


Fire Retardant Nylon 11, Glass Filled Nylon 12, Nylon 12, and TPU


±.005 in for the first inch and ± .002 in for each additional inch

Layer Thickness:

  • EOS:  .005 in
  • 3D Systems:  .004 in

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Laser Sintering materials at Midwest Prototyping



Key Characteristics

More Information

Fire Retardant Nylon 11 material that meets the FAR 25.853 60-second burn specification.

  • White
  • Flame Retardant
  • Heat Resistant
  • Rigid

Glass Filled Nylon 12 is fortified with glass beads. This material creates parts with higher thermal stability and stiffness than regular Nylon 12.

  • White
  • Chemical Resistant
  • Heat Resistant
  • High Strength
  • Impact Resistant
  • Rigid
  • UV Stability

Nylon 12 is a robust thermoplastic with exceptional physical properties.  

  • White
  • Chemical Resistant
  • Good for Snap Fits
  • Heat Resistant
  • High Strength
  • Impact Resistant
  • Rigid
  • UV Stability
  • Biocompatible*


Ultrasint ® TPU 88A black is a multi-purpose material offering a balanced property profile with good flexibility, shock absorption, and the possibility to print very fine structures with a high level of detail.

  • Black (when vapor smoothed)
  • Durable
  • Elastomeric
  • Fatigue Resistant
  • Flexible
  • High Resolution/High Detail
  • UV Stability

*Special processing may be required. Please notify us of any biocompatibility needs.

Compare Materials

Designing parts for Laser Sintering at Midwest Prototyping

Since Laser Sintering or Selective Laser Sintering is a powder-bed-based technology, it does not require support, allowing more design freedom for designers and engineers. The powder is the ‘support’ when designs need complex geometries, interlocking parts, and overhangs. Laser Sintering also allows components to be tightly arranged together to optimize the productivity and speed of the build. The materials we offer have been proven and tested and are high-quality thermoplastics with mechanical properties similar to injection-molded parts with 100% density.



Supported Walls

.028 in

Unsupported Walls

Supports not required

Supports & Overhangs

Supports not required 

Embossing & Engraving

Width: .04 in, Height/Depth: .04 in

Horizontal Spans

Supports not required

Holes & Openings

.02 in

Connecting & Moving Parts

Moving: .012 in, Connecting: .006 in

Escape Holes

.04 in

Minimum Features

.03 in

Pin Diameter

.02 in

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Laser Sintering finishing levels at Midwest Prototyping




Matte, white finish.


The surface is smoothed with a media for an eggshell finish. 

Smoothed & Sealed

Bead-blasted and vapor smoothed for a sealed, satin watertight finish.


Dyed, please specify the color.

Smoothed, Sealed, & Dyed

Vapor-sealed and dyed (specify color) for a satin, watertight finish.

Primed Exterior

Exterior (cosmetic) surfaces are smoothed and coated in grey primer.


Parts are smoothed, primed, and painted (provide drawing with paint specifications).


Custom finish. Let us know if your project requires special finishing. Please fill out our engineer-assisted quote form.

Design Tips and Tricks

Line Drawing of Living Hinges in an enclosures
Living Hinges

How can living hinges benefit your next project?  Laser Sintering is one of our in-house technologies that makes living hinges a feasible feature.  

Learn More →

New Instant Quoting Platform!

Need a quote? We’ve got two options for you! Our instant quote provides a fast estimate, while our engineer-assisted quote offers personalized guidance. 

Instant Quoting: