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Get High-Quality Laser Sintering (LS) Parts

Table of Contents

What is Laser Sintering?

Laser Sintering (LS), also known as Selective Laser Sintering, 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.

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 of the parts 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. When 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 does not need support structures.  

Laser Sintering Diagram

What are the ideal applications for Laser Sintering?

  • Prototypes, form and fit models, architectural models, performance testing, design verification
  • Prototypes and end-use parts that have similar mechanical properties to injection-molded parts
  • Laser Sintering components in serial batches are more cost-effective than injection-molding
  • Complex geometries can be consolidated 
  • Excellent for parts that need high strength and stiffness, chemical resistance, biocompatibility, and durable functionality

Laser Sintering at Midwest Prototyping

OEM:

EOS, 3D Systems, and XYZ 

Max Build Area:

26 x 13.5 x 21.8 in

Lead Time:

3 – 5 Days

Material:

Flame Retardant Nylon 11, Glass Filled Nylon 12, and Nylon 12

Tolerances:

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

Layer Thickness:

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

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Which Laser Sintering Materials Does Midwest Prototyping Offer?

Material

Description

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

Polyamide 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*

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

Compare Materials

Best Practices for Designing Parts for Laser Sintering at Midwest Prototyping.

Since Laser Sintering is a powder-bed-based technology, it does not require supports, allowing more design freedom for designers and engineers. The powder acts as the ‘support’ when designs need features such as complex geometries, interlocking parts, and overhangs. Laser Sintering also allows parts 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.

Feature

Measurement 

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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What are the Laser Sintering Finishing Levels at Midwest Prototyping?

Level

Process

Description

1

Excess powder removed, and lightly bead blasted.

Standard finish: Parts have visible layer lines and sandstone texture.

2

Excess powder removed, lightly bead blasted, and sealed to lessen porosity.

Sealed finish: Parts have visible layer lines, sandstone texture, and a slight gloss. Parts have a watertight finish.

2 +

Excess powder removed, lightly bead blasted, and cosmetic surfaces sanded to 180 grit.

Functional finish: Removes some layer lines. Parts have a light texture from sanding.

PostPro3D

Excess powder removed, lightly bead blasted, and smoothed using PostPro3D

Automated finish: PostPro3D equipment is used to perform physiochemical smoothing. Smoothed parts have an air-tight, injection-molded-like finish.

3

Sealed, primed, or smoothed with PostPro3D and sanded to 320 grit

Near show quality finish: Removes layer lines. Parts may have minute scratches from sanding and are prime and paint-ready.

Midwest-Prototyping-Logo-combo-white.

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