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24 Jun 2019 13:02:10
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3d - Printworx

The dawn of the desktop SLS printers

Started by 3DRev, Wednesday,November 08, 2017, 16:19:40

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We already have a plethora of options to choose from when buying a 3D printer for our small workshops or our homes. FDM is cheap, has a huge range of materials to choose from, and is the more time tested method for home use, SLA is quickly growing in popularity at home, generally carrying a higher price tag to FDM but still easy and safe to use but offering the potential for much higher resolution prints.

Well say hello to the new kid on the block. Up until now, SLS printers have been only available in industrial flavour, costing tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds. However, there's a few making their way to our home desktops very soon!

Still carrying a much higher price tag than what you may be used to for your home printer, the desktop SLS options are still a far sight cheaper than their industrial counterparts, coming in at around the £4500 - 6000 mark. It's only going to be a matter of time before this price falls further and it will open up some really exciting doors for home 3D printing.

So, you ask yourself, what is SLS 3D printing and why is it so much better than FDM and SLA?
There are two main advantages of SLS over our more common methods, both of which are best explained whilst explaining how it works.

SLS puts down a fine layer of powdered material, then using a laser, melts the area required into a solid shape, applies another layer of powder, lasers again, and so on and so forth. This means that there is always a perfect level bed of powder for each new lasered layer. And what does this mean? No support material is ever needed. You can print fine details, suspended in the middle of the air, because it is actually being printed on a bed of powder. And the other advantage? Well I actually kind of just answered it, SLS can generally print with an extremely high quality.

So, onto the contenders. Who are producing these magical new printers for us?

Well, there are two I'm keeping my eyes on.

The first may sound familiar, the Fuse 1, brought to by, yep, Form Labs.
The Fuse is quite a bit more expensive than the second option, coming in at around £10k, but it is a good insight into where the industry will be heading.
It's well worth checking out their web page for it to get a better idea of how they are going to function and why you should be excited about them:

The second is a new comer, the under dog, Sinterit.
At just over half the price of the Fuse 1, it will likely be a lot more attractive to most home users looking to make the move to SLS printing and it seems to bring the numbers:

Take a look at them, and let me know what you think? Will you be jumping straight on the band waggon or will you be holding back for a couple of generations?
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