Although the technology behind the technique is fairly advanced, the actual process is relatively easy to explain, even without the aid of a 3D model as a visual tool. The basics behind the SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) method all hinge on the fact that each prototype is composed of thousands upon thousands of layers that measure roughly two hairs thick (.004″). When broken down, the full prototyping process looks like this.
- STL file is sliced to create layers
- The Laser draws the bottom-most layer
- Powder is spread overtop of the completed layer
- The process is repeated for subsequent layers
- Upon completion, the powder cake is removed
- Part is extracted from the loose powder
Once the build is complete and has cooled down, we dig through it like an archeological dig to find the solid pieces removing excess powder. Prototypes are then bead blasted with air to remove any remain powder leaving you with a functional prototype requiring no further steps.