About laser sintering
Additive manufacturing technologies not only use liquid resins, but also powdered material, as in the case of Selective Laser Sintering.
The production process is similar to that of stereolithography in that laser heat is used to solidify layer upon layer of the powdered material only where it forms part of the object’s corresponding geometry in CAD.
The software does not need to build supports during the process as the powder itself provides support for the model in the chamber. At the end of the process, once the block of dust has completely cooled, the excess material deposited on the parts can be manually removed and the prototypes are ready for use.
The materials proposed are similar to PA and therefore it is possible to load the prototypes with fibre-glass or aluminium powder to increase their thermal or mechanical performance, making them particularly suitable for stress and assembly testing.
The ability to check the functionality of the object and its responses to stresses and assembly at an open stage of its overall development, in which it may be thoroughly modified without major cost, undoubtedly entails high added value for small and large companies alike.
Given the nature of the material, sintered prototypes are poorly suited to the application of paint but ideal for the replacement of mechanical components, previously made with traditional subtractive technologies, on production lines and test benches with significant savings in time and costs.
The versatility of these materials has meant that, in the last few years, an increasing number of companies concerned with the development of special machinery or the realization of production lines have approached this technology, so much so that what started out as experimentation has become standard production practice.