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SLS printing for the masses

I am a regular and extremely satisfied Shapeways customer. The 3D prints they produce are top quality, at a very reasonable price and as long as your printing a number of parts in one go their delivery charges are fair. Ok, their insistence to quote and charge in dollars, when I'm based in the UK and their European facility is in Netherlands, is slightly annoying but who knows what positives our impending Brexit may bring in the future!

This customer loyalty instilling quality of output stems mainly from the EOS SLS machines they use for their prints. Powder bin based machines have no need for complex support structures, and therefore have far less post production, and the precision of the lasers used to fuse each layer enable parts to be produced quickly and efficiently with layer thicknesses of only 1-2 particles.

These machines come with a price tag that puts them well out of the reach of inhouse design teams or start up companies, which is why the Shapeways business model has been so successful. That was until 3D printer manufactures like Formlabs developed low cost SLS printers such as the Fuse 1.

I won't go in to the details myself, as their own website does a much better job of it. Formlabs Fuse or Fuse 1 PDF spec sheet There is also a great video from Sean Charlesworth at Tested, who got the chance to visit Formlabs. Tested visit Formlabs

For those that still can't afford the $10k price tag, then Shapeways is still a good alternative. Shapeways

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