Difference between SLS and SLA

Differences in technologies and materials

Selective Laser Sintering


Selective laser sintering (SLS) is a rapid prototyping technique that uses a laser likely CO2 laser as the power source to sinter powdered material namely polyamide and polystyrene powders, aiming the laser automatically at points in space defined by a 3D model, binding the material together to create a solid structure.

In SLS technique nylon(namely polyamide and polystyrene) is used as build material. In this technique, the build material will be in powder state. This powder is fused selectively by a laser according to the data given at the time of design.

Stereolithography (SLA) is also known as optical fabrication , is a form of 3D printing technology which is used for preparing a prototype in a layer by layer fashion using photochemical processes by which light causes chemical monomers and oligomers to cross-link together to form polymers. Those polymers then make up the body of a three-dimensional solid.

In SLA technique photo polymer resin(namely clear resin , castable resin, standard resin) is used as build material. In this technique, the build material will be in liquid state. This resin is cured,layer by layer accordingly by the laser that is beamed.

Differences in Properties

Property Selective Laser Sintering Stereolithography
Build/Bed volume 200x250x330 mm 145x145x175 mm
Layer Thickness 0.06mm to 0.12mm 0.05mm to 0.15mm
Accuracy ±100microns ±50microns
Minimum Wall Thickness 1mm 5mm
Laser Type UV laser beam Co2 laser
Sensitivity Long exposure to UV light damages the object  High Brittleness
Surface Finish Very Rough Surface Finish  Smooth Surface Finish
Build material Powdered nylon Resin(namely PA2200) Liquid Photo-Polymers,Photo-sensitive resins
Post Processing Dusting and possible Sanding  UV baking and removing support structures
Applications  Functional prototypes,short run,bridge or custom manufacturing Patterns, molds,dental and jewellery applications

Sample parts

Selectively Laser Sintering


SLS(on left) vs SLA(on right)


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