I'm looking at using 3D Systems Vanguard SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) process for making injection mold cavity inserts for preliminary part production. At one time a few years ago the tolerances and finishes weren't so good. Now I understand they are far better, but all I have is that relative term "better".
My parts to make are all curved surfaces with virtually no flats anywhere, and making EDM electrodes even gets to be a bitch. I need a5 axis mill, or break up the solid into parts for various electrodes. SLS offers the chance to get the cavity direct, PLUS: INTEGRAL WATERLINES COME FOR FREE (well, free if I design them into the cavity insert).
I'm excited about the possibilities, but need more info.
- Has any SolidWorks users hear-abouts had personal experience getting high precision metal parts out of the SLS machines?
- What sorts of tolerances and surface finished have you gotten on parts under 3" in size?
- What types of costs have you seen quoted for the SLS parts from service bureau vendors?
- Have you used the parts as they come out or have you used them in heat-treated form? I am considering the LaserForm A6 material.
Info from 3D Systems is at: