Exergy Solutions adds SLS technology to its fleet of 3D printers
Exergy Solutions recently added a 3D Systems SPro 60 to our fleet of 3D printers. This 3D printer uses a technology called Selective Laser Sintering or ‘SLS’ and can be deployed with materials like plastics, metals and various composite material powders.
Developed in the 1980s, SLS 3D printing was one of the first additive manufacturing processes. In SLS printing particles of material are fused together by heat from a laser building a part layer-by-layer. Parts printed using SLS come out of the printer encased in a block of loose powder called the ‘build cake.’ This video shows how this process works: 3D printing with Nylon SLS .
SLS printing offers advantages over other 3D printing methods. Small parts can be printed with high levels of precision and complex geometry and prints don’t require supports, as the non-sintered material surrounding the print provides stability. It also allows for large quantities of parts to be put into the build volume. SLS printing has some disadvantages such as material wastage, high energy use and post-processing can be labour intensive.
3D printing technologist Cory Coupal separates a 3D-printed part from a block of loose power on a breakout table. He uses rubber gloves to protect the powder from dirt and oil on the skin. The black overhead tube collects any particles that become airborne. The loose power goes down through a screen on the breakout table where it’s sifted and mixed with fresh powder to be re-used in the next print.
Exergy Solutions currently has more than ten 3D printers at our X-Lab in the Life Sciences Innovation Hub North of the University of Calgary. The X-Lab has the capacity to perform industry leading testing, consulting, problem solving, design & engineering and R&D services for multiple industries.