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Benchtop and Low-cost SLS

Ever since the original patent expired in February 2014, the SLS (aka the plastic powder bed fusion), 3D printer market has been in for an overhaul: the emergence of Benchtop SLS 3d printing.

“Benchtop SLS” means that large industrial machines – that once used to have to be in warehouses and labs – are now small enough and affordable enough that they can sit atop a shop or garage workbench. Not enough that they can be on a desktop (but almost no 3D printer really is yet) but enough that an unprecedented number of people can now access this technology.

The Benchtop SLS shift may not be as disruptive as what happened in the stereolithography and filament extrusion but it is going to be big and the first sings of change are clearly showing now.

Formlabs, the company that almost single handedly disrupted the SLA (laser stereolithography) market announced a sub-$15,000 prices system called the Fuse1 which should be ready by the end of 2018. However the current market leader is a small Polish company called Sinterit, that has optimized its system (originally introduced in 2014) to the point where it’s now quite reliable and prices around $5,000.

A New Race to the Bottom?

Other companies are partaking in the new Benchtop and Low-cost SLS 3D printer race. Some are emerging from the bottom-up, such as Sharebot, Sintratec and now a new Spanish company called Natural Robotica.

Others are tackling the issue from the top up. For example Prodways, by introducing its P1000 ($100,000 system), or XYZprinting, with a new SLS system priced around $60,000.

This is still a lot less than the current lowest priced and top selling SLS 3D printer: the EOS Formiga P110, priced at around 200,000. And the Chinese 3D printer makers are also preparing to invade the global markets, with Farsoon and Shining 3D leading the pack.

While the onslaught of low-cost FDM and SLA/DLP 3D printers has caused disruption in the industry and troubles to current market leaders, no one can deny that their effect has been extremely beneficial for expanding the AM industry as a whole. Will the same happen with SLS?

Find out in this Industry Focus section

multi-powder sls

Aerosint Is Developing the First Commercial Multi-powder SLS 3D Printer

Belgium based Aerosint invented a unique selective powder dispensing technology which enable multi-powder SLS 3D printing for more cost effective and multi-material parts. If it reaches commercialization it could result in extreme cost efficiency for higher-end, more expensive polymers, among other benefits. The project was initiated by the Start-up studio …

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Prodways Sells First ProMaker LD-10 Compact Dental Systems

The year 2018 is off to a good start for Prodways Technologies with the first sales of the ProMaker LD-10 SLS systems in the early-adopter program for the “compact” dental segment. The company also sold a large format Selective Laser Sintering 3D printer, the ProMaker P4500 HT, in the aeronautics sector. …

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RP Platform’s White Paper Explores the Evolving Role of SLS Technology in 3D Printing

RP Platform, a London-based company providing workflow automation software for industrial 3D printing, has released a new white paper that examines the changing role of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology within additive manufacturing. The white paper takes an in-depth look at how SLS has evolved from being a rapid prototyping tool …

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XYZprinting Expands 3D Printing Range with Binder Jetting and SLS System

After three years of research and hard work, XYZprinting is introducing a new complete range of 3D printers, starting with its da Vinci Color, the world’s first full-colour 3D printer that uses 3D ColorJet technology, which combines inkjet printing with fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printing. The impressive new line up goes on …

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colorFabb to Distribute Sintratec Benchtop SLS 3D Printer in Benelux region.

colorFabb is now an official business partner for Sintratec. Sintratec is a Swiss high-tech company specializing in the development and production of SLS 3D printers. The range includes desktop laser sintering systems which work with high quality polymers. Sintratec’s laser sintering technology allows the production of complex and freeform objects …

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Natural Robotics VIT SLS 3D Printer Launches Today on KS After Short Delay

Natural Robotics, launched its €6,000 benchtop VIT SLS 3D printer on Kickstarter (€11,000 commercial price) after a short two-day delay. The launch was initially scheduled for October 24th but was postponed due to “fine-tuning of details”. While it is “natural” that challenges arise when launching a new, possibly revolutionary, 3D printer, this …

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