Selective Laser Sintering

Selective laser sintering (SLS) is an industrial 3D printing process that produces accurate - rapid prototypes and functional production parts in as fast as 1 day. Multiple nylon-based materials are available, which create highly durable final parts.

Metal Plated Plastic Parts

Protolabs in-house SLS Plating provides metal coated 3D printed plastic parts that have the appearance and of metal, but the advantage of light weight plastics with added strength. The Plated finish is widely used in applications such as the automotive, electrical engineering and many other industries. 

SLS design guidelines will help you understand capabilities and limitations.

Why Choose Selective Laser Sintering For Your 3D Printing Project?

SLS is ideal to make functional parts that have greater toughness and higher impact strength than parts produced through stereolithography (SL). SLS lacks the surface finish and fine feature details available with SL. We offer a number of secondary services to further enhance your 3D-printed project design or finish. These services are available when ordering a part manufactured by Protolabs.

SLS material data sheets can be found in our Material Comparison Guide

How Does Selective Laser Sintering Work?

The SLS machine begins sintering each layer of part geometry into a heated bed of nylon-based powder. After each layer is fused, a roller moves across the bed to distribute the next layer of powder. The process is repeated layer by layer until the build is complete.

When the build finishes, the entire powder bed with the encapsulated parts is moved into a breakout station, where it is raised up, and parts are broken out of the bed. An initial brushing is manually administered to remove a majority of loose powder. Parts are then bead blasted to remove any of the remaining residual powder before ultimately reaching the finishing department.

1 to 50+ parts

Shipped in 1 to 7 days



Best for:
  • durable prototypes
  • functional, end-use parts
  • complex geometries

SLS Materials

We offer numerous 3D printing material options that are regularly updated to meet prototyping and master fabrication needs. Two different types of nylon materials are available in SLS for different levels of stiffness and ductility.



Design Guidelines

Our basic guidelines for SLS include important design considerations to help improve part manufacturability, enhance cosmetic appearance, and reduce overall production time.


a metal 3D printing technician removes support structures from a DMLS part

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