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Powder sintering

Introduction to Powder Sintering

Powder Sintering is the translation of the English name Selective Laser Sintering, whose acronym is SLS. With this powder sintering or laser sintering technology, plastic powder particles are agglomerated by heat and the presence of a laser. A laser is then used to sinter the polyamide powder into a thin layer. The part is manufactured in successive layers of 0.10 mm when the process is repeated.

The SLS process produces functional plastic parts with isotropic mechanical properties, which can be used for detailed prototyping or low-volume production of functional parts.

The printing dimensions of our largest machine enable us to print parts up to 350 x 300 x 420 mm.

parc machines pour impression 3D Machine axis impression 3d frittage de poudre SLS

The benefits of 3D printing technology

  • Powder sintering technology does not require support structures. The printed parts are held in place by the powder that surrounds them.
  • Lasers have a high scanning speed and are extremely precise (which differs from material deposition printing such as FDM). As a result, they can print parts with great precision and productivity.
  • SLS 3D printing works with a wide range of materials: metal, polymer, glass, ceramic or composite.

These advantages make it ideal for

  • Functional mock-ups ;
  • Aerodynamic validation ;
  • Dimensional, mechanical, thermal validation… ;
  • Production of low volume production up to a few hundred parts.

SLS materials and finishes

At Axis, we use the following materials:

  • PA 650 (PA 12 – Polyamide) ;
  • PA 615 Glass Filled (PA 12 GF) ;
  • PP (Polypropylene) ;
  • TPU 70 shores A.

And when it comes to finishes, we offer :

  • Manual cleaning of all surfaces;
  • Epoxy impregnation and polishing ;
  • Moisture recovery ;
  • Priming ;
  • Paint finish ;
  • Metallization ;
  • We assemble and validate your sub-assemblies.

Want to know more about stereolithography? You can consult our material sheets.

Lead times and part design advice

For the Powder Sintering process, please allow 2 to 6 working days, depending on the size and finish of your project. For mini series (up to a few hundred pieces, please contact us for lead times).

For the design of your parts, plan for a minimum wall thickness of 0.8 mm.

Powder Sintering in pictures

How does it work?

To produce a part using powder sintering technology, several steps are required:
  • Preparation:
    • First of all, it’s essential to have a 3D file, thanks to 3D design software in .STEP or .STL format;
    • This file is then processed and cut by us into 0.10 mm thin slices;
  • Construction:
    • This information is transmitted to the production machine. This sintering machine consists of a pilot computer, 2 powder tanks, a platform, a lens and a laser. Part construction begins with the platform in the upper position, flush with the machine’s construction surface;
    • A layer of powder is deposited on the platform using a roller or an arm, depending on the machine used;
    • Once the machine is closed, it heats up to reach a certain temperature in the construction cabin;
    • Once this temperature has been reached, the laser switches on, passes through the lens and follows the trajectory calculated by the control computer to trace the contours of the part;
    • On contact with the laser, the powder becomes compact and welded because the heat is increased at this precise point to reach the melting point and sinter the material;
    • The platform is lowered by 0.10 mm, then a new layer of powder is deposited on top;
    • The various stages then follow one another: the laser taps the powder to harden it, the platform descends, the roller or arm deposits an even layer of powder, etc. ;
    • Once all the successive layers have been produced, the temperature in the cabin drops, and the entire production run can be accessed.
  • Finish :
    • The cake then looks like a powder cube.
    • It is then placed on a sieve and cooled so that its core is not too hot to avoid any risk of deformation of the parts;
    • Like an archaeological dig, we use brushes and tools to find the prototypes produced in the middle of the powder;
    • The parts are then de-soldered, sandblasted, etc. to remove any excess powder still present.

Our production facilities

  • 1
    EOS P380
    Dimensions : 325 x 325 x 620 mm
  • 2 HQ Sinterstation: 350 x 300 x 420 mm

To find out more about our other additive manufacturing production resources, please visit our our machines page.

Need a quote or information on rapid prototyping?

Ask us for a quick quote or call us on +33 (0)5 55 06 17 17