Polymer materials are used as photopolymers for stereolithographic processes, as extrusion material for 3D printing or in powder form for processing with laser sintering processes. All additive manufacturing processes have in common, that the choice of materials for the user is severely restricted compared with the material variety in injection molding. These are often highly specialized materials. The specific properties of these materials make processing even possible, i.e. in the laser sintering process. Therefore, developments concentrate on the one hand on making further materials accessible for processes and on the other hand on further developing the processes with the aim use standard polymers in future.
Polymers for Selective Laser Sintering
The process of selective laser sintering enables additive manufacturing of polymer components with properties similar to components produced by injection-molding. It is therefore an important process for functional components. The materials are used here as fine powders. Although the process is already established, the range of materials is severely limited; polyamides are mainly used. In addition to natural-colored standard powders, modified types are available, which - for example - have a higher flame resistance (used in the electronics industry) or have elastic properties in order to approximate the material behavior of other polymers.