Desktop Selective Laser Sintering, or SLS, is a highly sought after item in the 3d printing world. SLS printers print by layering fine powder, then selectively “sintering” or melting it with a laser. Since there is a solid “cake” of powder, no support materials are necessary. Typically these machines are extremely expensive and quite large. Sintratec is hoping to change that.
The Sintratec team currently consists of 3 electrical engineers based out of Switzerland: Joscha Zeltner, Christian Von Burg, and Dominik Solenicki. The three hope to launch a crowdfunding campaign in October to raise enough money to ship at least 60 kit printers. Their current target price is under 3999€ ($5,277), which is considerably cheap for an SLS machine, though still quite pricey compared to your typical FDM printer. However, as you can see in the video above, they are quite different machines.
Their current prototype has a build volume of about 130mm cubed. However, it should be pointed out that the printer is still in development so the build volume might change, as well as the external look and feel.
One big way that they have kept the cost down is by going with a diode based laser. Most large SLS machines use a C02 laser that is quite large, expensive, and can be a bit dangerous since you can’t see the beam. Many safety precautions would have to be put in place. Instead, they went with a compact diode that is in the visible spectrum. While you still need to shield your eyes from the beam, you can at least tell that the beam is on!