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What is SLS Printing?

May 30, 2023

SLS printing is a form of additive manufacturing. It stands for Selective Laser Sintering, and that gives a hint as to how the technology works. A build chamber is filled with a layer of nylon-based powder. From there, a laser shines against a mirror and into this chamber.

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The laser is stationary, while the mirror makes slight adjustments. As a result, the laser’s beam in the build chamber moves around.

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In the build chamber, the energized laser heats up and sinters the nylon powder wherever the laser traces. After a few seconds, the sintered powder cools enough into solid nylon along the line. The laser will be used to trace a single layer of the part, then another layer of powder is laid down and the process is continued.


After enough layers and time, the finished 3D part is created in the build chamber. It goes through brushing then treatment, then it’s ready for any finishing steps and shipment to our customer.


This sounds like MJF, another form of 3D printing that uses nylon as the print material. The key difference is that SLS printers sinter the powder together which is less expensive, creates lighter products, and doesn’t have the same issues with printing larger, solid parts.

In terms of fabrication, SLS and MJF are probably the closest options if you want a direct comparison. If you want to step outside of 3D printing, then you would consider injection molding or CNC machining if you want a comparable part.