Polymer Powder 3D Printing

What is Polymer Powder 3D Printing?

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01 Industrial 3D Printers

02 Professional 3D Printers

When you think of 3D printing, the first thing that usually comes to mind is an FDM printer that extrudes material layer by layer, but that's not the only way to make something three-dimensional. 3D Polymer Powder Printing is another popular additive manufacturing process. Unlike FDM Printing, which uses filaments, the primary printing medium in Polymer Powder 3D Printing is a polymer powder.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Binder Jetting are the two sub-technologies that make up Polymer Powder 3D Printing.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

In SLS Printing, the powder is placed in the printer's powder hopper and heated to a temperature just below its melting point. When the correct temperature is reached, the build platform is covered with a thin layer of powder.

The powder layer is then selectively sintered based on the model using a CO2 laser or IR laser. Once the layer is applied, the build platform moves down and the recoater applies another powder layer. The new layer is sintered with the laser. This process continues until the desired object is finished.

Binder Jetting (BJ)

The build plate is covered with a thin layer of powder, just like other powder printing processes. Instead of fusing the material via the influence of heat, as in other processes, a print head moves over the surface and virtually sprays on a binder. The powder becomes solid when the liquid comes into contact with it. The build platform moves down as each layer is completed, the recoater applies another layer of powder to the build surface, and the cycle repeats until the part is finished.

Complex shapes possible

Fast manufacturing

Wide range of materials

Typical Powder Printing Process

1. Preparation of SLS data

The first step involves preparing the print data with a selected CAD or 3D printer software. Subsequently, the prepared data is transferred to the 3D printer and processed.

2. Ensuring material supply

Before a print is carried out, a sufficient and reliable supply of material is ensured. This is done by first checking that there is sufficient material available for printing, then agitating the material in the feed to remove any air that may be present.

3. Print

In the third step, the actual printing of the component takes place. In a step-by-step process, the material is sintered by means of a laser beam and the desired component geometry is formed.

4. Extraction

After the print job has cooled down, the excess powder is removed from the components. The excess powder is then reprocessed and used for the next print job.

5. Sandblasting

Sandblasting the components creates a uniform and high-quality surface structure and refines the component. In addition, sandblasting ensures that there is no powder left on the components.

6. Further post-processing

The components can be further processed afterwards. The components can be colored or mechanically processed, for example.

Advantages and Disadvantages of 3D Powder Printing

  • No support structures necessary
  • High accuracy to detail
  • High strength & is temperature resistant
  • Fast production
  • Economical material consumption
  • Wide range of materials
  • Somewhat rough surface
  • No transparent components
  • Powder handling



By manufacturing components with complex geometries using the Selective Laser Sintering process, considerable weight can be saved in the aerospace sector. Examples include cabin components such as ventilation grilles, which are produced in small batches using SLS.


In the automotive industry, Selective Laser Sintering is used in particular for prototyping. Prototype vehicles and pre-series models can be produced in a very short time. Both exterior elements and interior components are manufactured.


The SLS process is increasingly being used both in apparatus engineering and in prosthetics. Due to the small quantities required as well as high demands on precision and material, Selective Laser Sintering is ideally suited.


Similar to aerospace, there is a need for powder-based 3D-printed components in the defense industry, as they help reduce weight and consolidate the number of parts and designs, leading to greater efficiency.

Industrial Manufacturing

Although 3D Powder Technology is primarily used for professional rapid prototyping, it is also playing an increasingly important role in the production of small batches and spare parts. The replacement of injection molded parts is also becoming possible.

Consumer Goods

Because of its low cost per part and durable materials, SLS 3D Printing is an economical way to produce complex, custom parts or a series of small components for end products.

Industrial Laser Sintering Systems


QLS 820

The Nexa3D® QLS 820 SLS 3D Printer is a quad laser system that offers unmatched production capabilities and the highest part throughput in its class. It was designed with automation and scalability in mind. With up to four times the throughput of conventional Laser Sintering 3D printers and other polymer powder bed technologies, the Nexa3D® QLS 820 sets new standards for 3D printing.

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QLS 260

The QLS 260 is an industry-leading productivity machine with an industry-leading cycle time of just 21 hours and a 2-hour cooling period. Because of its smaller build chamber, it can enhance your daily throughput with a single 60 Watt CO2 laser without requiring a long cooling interval. It works well with a variety of high-temperature thermoplastic and metal materials, but it also performs exceptionally well with recycled waste powder from other technologies, such as multijet fusion.

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QLS 236

The QLS 236 is the ideal system for all users who require high-quality components at low prices. Nexa3D®'s SLS system offers higher speed and access to BASF's highest-performance SLS materials and an open material platform. The industrial SLS system impresses with a powerful CO2 laser and a large installation space.

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QLS 230

Nexa3D's cost-effective SLS system can process materials such as PA12 White, PA11 CF and PA11 ESD within the 230 x 230 x 230 mm building envelope. The laser sintering system has an open material system and a 30 Watt CO² laser.

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NILS 480

The NILS 480 is a new industrial-standard SLS 3D printer with a high level of automation and the best return on investment in the SLS technology market. With Sinterit's extensive powder selection and the large build volume of the NILS 480, you can innovate and push the boundaries of additive manufacturing.

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Professional Laser Sintering Systems


Lisa X

The new Sinterit Lisa X is a fast, compact desktop SLS printer with a large build envelope. Whether it's a prototype or a production part, use the compact Sinterit Lisa X 3D printing system in your company to additively manufacture your parts. The new built-in galvo scanner of the Lisa X increases the speed at which your models are printed.

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Lisa Pro

The Sinterit Lisa Pro system is the best way to learn about the potential of Selective Laser Sintering, whether for prototyping or small batch production, materials research or internal training of engineers and designers. With the Sinterit Lisa Pro 3D printing system, the most complex designs can be created by Selective Laser Sintering in one piece and without support structures.

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With the compact Sinterit Lisa 3D printer, you can fully exploit the potential of Selective Laser Sintering in your workshop. The Lisa system makes it easy to create entire assemblies from a 3D CAD design. This technology is particularly well suited for in-house research into the SLS 3D printing process, for iteratively adapting your ideas for powder-based manufacturing.

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Our team of experts will be happy to support you in choosing the right 3D printing technology and in selecting the right 3D printing system.

Our application team also advises you on the choice of materials. Among other things, we can provide cost and time calculations as well as sample parts. In our showroom we have the possibility to validate the project together with you!

Ahmed Abo Seada Account Manager