Design Guidelines: Selective Laser Sintering

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

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.


Maximum Dimensions

PA 12 White 676mm x 367mm x 564mm
PA 11 Black* 269mm x 320mm x 406mm
PA 12 40% Glass Filled 269mm x 320mm x 406mm
PP Natural* 269mm x 320mm x 406mm
PA 12 Carbon Filled 490mm x 490mm x 740mm
TPU-88A Black 330mm x 280mm x 440mm

*PA 11 Black and PP Natural - Suggested maximum dimensions: 200mm x 200mm x 200mm (higher dimensions may increase warping and dimensional inaccuracy risk)


applications engineers working on CAD model

Design Feedback
For additional questions, please contact an applications engineer at
[email protected] or +44 (0) 1952 683047.


Layer Thickness 0.1mm
Minimum Feature Size 0.75mm* / 1.00mm**


*PA 12 White, PA 11 Black
** PA 12 40% Glass Filled, PP Natural, PA 12 Carbon Filled, TPU-88A

Typically, expected tolerances on well-designed parts are +/-0.2mm, plus +0.002mm/mm 

*For TPU-88A Black, tolerance of ± 0.3mm plus ± 0.002mm/mm can be expected (for parts bigger than 100 mm in this material, tolerance will be ± 0.3% of nominal dimension)

a 3D printing technician bead blasts a nylon SLS part


Surface Finishes

STANDARD Bead blast to remove all powder, which leaves a consistent overall texture.

Available Secondary options:

  • Paint (RAL)
  • Black dye: only available for PA 12 White and PA 12 40% Glass Filled
  • Infiltration (black or transparent)
  • Primer and surface finish
  • Primer, surface finish and paint (RAL)
  • Taps and Inserts
  • Assembly (bonding, screwing etc.): only available for PA 11 Black, PA 12 White, PA 12 40% Glass Filled and PA 12 Carbon Filled
Vapour Smoothing

Parts are treated through an automated, high-quality, post-processing technique, which leaves them with great aesthetics and sealed surfaces that are water and air tight, and easy to clean. Currently only available for Vapor Smoothing.

For proper smoothing, a minimum wall thickness of 1.5 mm is required.



Our SLS equipment includes sPro140 machines, which have a large sintering build volume, and feature fully digital high-speed scanning systems, unparalleled process consistency, and closed systems for powder blending and delivery for reliable part quality. We also use SPro 60 machines, which allow for multiple materials and high throughput.

an applications engineer examines a bed of nylon powder for selective laser sintering

applications engineers discuss 3D printing CAD model

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