In a perfect world, it should be possible to design and print anything in an SLS 3D printer. But just like with any other technique, SLS has its limitations.
As a designer or user of SLS 3D printing, you need to be familiar with these limitations in order to print successfully. But are the limitations absolute? Isn’t there anything one can do to increase the success rates? For some people, limits are there to be challenged. Such people make the impossible possible. Peter is one of these people.
The tempo is high at Wematter, but we catch Customer Success Manager Peter Oléhn as he has started up yet another Gravity – the Wematter SLS 3D printer. Peter spends most of his time scrutinizing 3D prints, planning print jobs, and building different scenes in Deep Space, a dedicated nesting and slicing software for 3D prints. He has seen the details of numerous 3D prints in his career and knows how to succeed with your 3D prints. Here are his 5 best tips!
1. The right measurements
Most importantly, the measurements need to be adapted for SLS, and within the 3D printer’s specifications. The laser can sometimes miss too thin details. This also goes for fine, small cavities. If they are too fine, they risk being sintered shut.
2. Placement in the software
Once the print file is ready, care must be taken in how to place the part in the software for nesting and slicing. For example, a beam that is printed horizontally will be stronger than if it is printed vertically.
3. Angle long narrow prints
Thin and extended objects like pipes are the exception to the above rule. This is because such objects easily warp. To avoid this, Peter recommends a 20° angle when placing such objects.
4. Graphical elements
The following tip concerns 3D-printed objects with surfaces containing graphical elements, like logotypes or text. The best results are achieved when placing such surfaces facing upwards. Unlike the thin parts, the graphically ornamented parts need to be placed horizontally.
5. Corners and sharp edges
Peter’s fifth and last tip is to be mindful of corners and sharp edges. Be aware that these simply can’t be printed using SLS 3D printing. SLS uses a laser that has the smallest diameter of +-0,4 mm. Respecting the limits of the technology and selectively choosing objects suitable for SLS 3D printing saves you both time, money, and frustration.
As a bonus, we would like to mention the unique possibility that SLS 3D prints offer, namely to print movable parts in one piece! If you plan to do this, Peter advises you to leave a 0,3 mm space on every side of the movable part, to avoid sintering the parts together.
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About Wematter AB (publ)
Swedish 3D printing company Wematter’s pioneering solution gives hospitals, offices, and workshops access to a comprehensive system. For the first time, employees can easily print components themselves with the same strength and quality as traditional technology. Wematter’s proprietary end-to-end solution enables customers to accelerate product development and in-house volume production. At the same time, the system creates the conditions for increased flexibility, lower risk, and reduced manufacturing and development costs.