Selective Laser Sintering (SLS):
PA12 / PA2200


Laser Sintering - PA12 PA2200 - Molecule model
Laser Sintering - PA12 PA2200 - chinese character cube
Laser Sintering - PA12 PA2200 - Example Mock-up part
Laser Sintering - PA12 PA2200 - Interlocked chain

PA 12 (as powder also called PA 2200) is one of the single most versatile materials in professional 3D printing. Due to it’s mechanic strength, flexibility and heat resistance, it is a perfect choice for functional prototypes or end-use parts. Printing PA12 requires no support structures and therefore enables printing even the most complex designs.



Overview

Icon Technology

Technology

Laser Sintering (SLS)

Icon Colors

Colors

White or dyed

Icon Bounding Box

Max. Size

330 × 250 × 200 mm

Icon Pricing

Cost

$$$
(Low)

Icon Lead Time

Lead Time

5 – 7 business days

Icon Accuracy

Accuracy

± 0.3% with a lower limit of 0.3 mm


Material-Details


Click on the topics of your interest.

End-use parts

Laser Sintering - PA12 PA2200 - car rear mirror

The small batch production of end-use parts is one of the major strength of the material and technology. While laser sintering print cycles are relatively long (up to 3 days), the through-put is among the largest of all additive manufacturing technologies. The reason is that parts can be built on top of each other, a feature which is not possible for other additive technologies like Stereolithography, FDM or Polyjet/MJM. Therefore, in just one print cycle, up to a few hundred parts can be printed.

Besides the speed and economic advantage of the material, PA12 / PA 2200 displays mechanical and thermal properties, which are superior to most other 3D printed materials.


Functional Prototypes

Laser Sintering - PA12 PA2200 - structural part

Laser-sintered PA12 / PA2200 is often the best choice when it comes to functional prototypes. The material is flexible when thin and strong when printed in thicker structures. This characteristic allows a high resolution of fine structures, without breaking them, while allowing high mechanic strength for thick structures.

Furthermore, PA12 is more heat resistant compared to many other 3D printing materials and can therefore be used for prototypes in higher temperature settings. Another strength of the technology is that it is printed without the need of any support structures, which allows a freedom of design that cannot be realized with any other technology.


Visual Prototypes

Laser Sintering - PA12 PA2200 - PCB mock-up

PA12 is a commonly used material for visual prototypes. The main advantage is the lack of support structures, which allows a more consistent surface quality, without scars from support structures. Furthermore, the rough surface allows a matt finish, a popular feature for design prototypes, sales models or architectural models.

The pricing of laser sintered PA12 is based on material consumption and machine space of the part. The latter factor influences not only the print time, but also the efficiency of the process, since only approximately 50% of non-sintered powder can be reused. Therefore, the more compact a part is, the less powder must be discarded, hence, the less expensive it is.

The average approximate price is around EUR 0,75 (excl. 19% VAT, or ~EUR 0,90 incl. 19% VAT) per cm³ Material volume. Please note, these values can differ significantly, a bulky model with a large machine space (related to its material volume) will be more expensive than a compact one.

Look & Feel

  • The surface is rather rough, can but be smoothed by polishing (tumbling)
  • The material is very light (density ~0.95 g/cm³)
  • Material is white; however, it can be easily dyed (for models <15 cm)
  • X-Y axis surfaces are very smooth, however, like on most other additive technologies, in Z-direction the printing layers might be visible.

Characteristics

  • Flexible when thin, strong when thick
  • Very resistant material, chemically resistant, mechanically strong, heat-resistant up to ~100°C
  • One of the most durable 3D printed materials

Tensile
Strength

48 MPa

Elongation at break

24 %

Modulus of Elasticity

1,700 MPa

Flexural
Strength

58 MPa


Vicat A

163 °C

Shore
hardness

75 D

Wall thickness symbol

Minimum Wall Thickness
The minimum wall thickness should be no less than 0,8 mm. For long structures or structures that face mechanical stress, the wall thickness should be increased.

Cavities Symbol

Cavities
Hollow parts can be printed, as long as they contain escape holes with a diameter of 5 mm or more, which allow to remove excess material. For larger cavities leave two or more escape holes.
The material is compacted during the printing process and therefore challenging to remove. Hence, thin tubes in the part might contain excess material which cannot be removed.

Clearance gap symbol

Clearance Gap
In case your file contains several shells, make sure to keep a clearance gap of min. 0,5 mm between the shells, otherwise they could be fused together.

Resolution symbol

Resolution
The minimal details size should not be smaller than 0,5 mm.

Symbol interlocking parts

Interlocking parts
Interlocking parts can be printed, please allow a distance of min. 0,5 mm between the objects. Make sure that the area can be accessed to remove excess powder.

Size symbol

Bounding box
The maximum size of the part cannot exceed 330 x 250 × 200 mm.

Standard-Finishing

  • Cleaning parts from excess material

Optional Finishing

  • Manual polishing
  • Machine polishing (tumbling)
  • Dyeing (black, red, blue)

Details about the process can be found in our Laser Sintering: Technology Overview.

A thin layer of powder is spread on a retractable built platform. In this powder layer the cross-section of the desired part is drawn by a laser – sintering the powder in those areas. Sintering means that the material is heated to just below the melting point, fusing the powder together. This is in contrast to the laser melting method (also called direct metal 3D printing), in which metal powder is heated with a laser beyond the melting point during the printing process.

After successfuly sintering of the first layer, a new layer of powder is spread over the previous one and the process is repeated. The sintered component is fully surrounded by powder thus providing support. Therefore – unlike SLA or Polyjet, support structures are not needed.

Laser sintering takes a comparatively long time. In a completely filled machine space, the printing cycle can last up to 2 or even 3 days.

SLS process schematic. Source: Youtube, 3D Systems