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Desktop SLS 3D printers: the best powder printers

Compact SLS 3D printers offer highly detailed prints without the need for support material. They can fit in an office environment (with the right precautions) and be of great help to product designers and engineers. Our guide covers some of the best desktop SLS 3D printers this year.

What desktop SLS 3D printers are available on the market?

SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) is a 3D printing technology that uses a laser beam to sinter powdered material. This technique enables the 3D printing of detailed, functional parts suited for professional and industrial use.

A few years ago, SLS was exclusive to large, industrial-type additive manufacturing systems. Today, a new breed of SLS 3D printers has hit the market with lower prices and smaller formats, catering to small business professionals.

Starting at around $5,500, today’s professional desktop SLS 3D printers are much more affordable than before (although they don’t target consumers yet). They enable small businesses to access accurate and advanced in-house prototyping without implying long delays linked to external 3D printing services.

We’ve created a list of the best desktop SLS 3D printers available on the market, following the selection criterion below:

  • SLS 3D printing technology
  • Available under $20,000
  • Desktop or “bench-top” dimensions

The best desktop SLS 3D printers for professionals

3D printerBuild volumeCountryPrice*Buy
Sintratec Kit130 x 130 x 130 mmSwitzerland€4,990Quote
Sinterit Lisa150 x 200 x 150 mmPoland€5,990Quote
Formlabs Fuse 1165 x 165 x 320 mmUnited States$9,999Quote
Sinterit Lisa Pro150 x 200 x 260 mmPoland€11,990Quote
Natural Robotics VIT SLS250 x 250 x 300 mmSpain-Quote
RED ROCK 3D RED ROCK180 x 180 x 180 mmRussia-Quote
These are the current solutions for affordable yet professional SLS 3D printing.

*MSRP: manufacturer suggested retail price. These prices are subject to change over time and/or from one country to another.

What is SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) technology?

Up until early 2014, Carl Deckard from Structured Polymers held a patent on Selective Laser Sintering 3D printing technology.

How does Selective Laser Sintering work?

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is part of the Powder Bed Fusion family of 3D printing technologies. This technology uses a laser to sinter powdered material. In other words, a powerful laser beam selectively melts and fuses tiny powder particles together.

Once a layer is finished, more powder is rolled and spread onto the print bed. The process repeats itself layer after layer. The excess powder stays in the powder bed, thus automatically providing support for the object and its intricacies.

When the 3D printing process is finished and the powder bed has cooled down, the objects can be removed. Excess powder material is then to be brushed off to reveal the final part. The parts require little to no post-processing.

SLS 3D printing technology.

SLS 3D printing technology.
Source: Sculpteo

Home SLS 3D printing: is it possible?

At the moment, desktop SLS 3D printers cannot yet be considered home SLS 3D printers. Since the machines use powder, it is better to have a specific, separate environment to use and store the SLS printer.

Powder can be harmful if ingested. These machines also use high-power laser beams that could be potentially dangerous if not used in a controlled environment.

Overview of the best desktop SLS 3D printers

The Sintratec Kit is one of the most affordable laser sintering 3D printers on the market.

Sintratec Kit

  • Country: Switzerland
  • Build volume: 130 x 130 x 130 mm
  • Dimensions: 600 x 520 x 380 mm
  • Weight: 28 kg
  • Price: $5,350
The Sintratec Kit started out as an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in 2014. It is one of the most affordable SLS 3D printers available today.

The Kit, as its name suggests, requires minimum assembly by its users before being ready to 3D print.

Sintratec also manufactures the Sintratec S1, another benchtop SLS 3D printer. It is delivered preassembled but costs between $20K and $30K. The Sintratec S2 is also available, and is an end-to-end SLS solution.

The Sinterit Lisa is one of the best desktop SLS 3D printers on the market.

Sinterit Lisa

  • Country: Poland
  • Build volume: 150 x 200 x 150 mm
  • Dimensions: 620 x 400 x 660 mm
  • Weight: 41 kg
  • Price: €5,990
The Sinterit Lisa is a plug-and-play desktop SLS 3D printer made by Polish manufacturer Sinterit. It is one of the most affordable SLS 3D printers actually available on the market.

This 3D printer offers a relatively large build volume for a desktop 3D printer, and even more so for an SLS 3D printer in this price range.

With the Lisa it is possible to 3D print flexible material (Flexa Black/Grey) or rigid, strong material (PA12). The Sinterit Lisa features a built-in camera and touchscreen for an easier user experience.

The Formlabs Fuse 1 is one of the best home SLS 3D printers.

Formlabs Fuse 1

  • Country: United States
  • Build volume: 165 x 165 x 320 mm
  • Dimensions: 677 x 668 x 1059 mm
  • Weight: 88 kg
  • Price: $9,999
Note: this 3D printer was announced mid 2017, to be shipped late 2018. Formlabs is still taking pre-orders but hasn’t shipped any units yet.

Formlabs, originally an SLA 3D printer manufacturer, introduced the Fuse 1, an SLS 3D printer to be released in the future. Due to its weight and dimensions, the Fuse 1 is considered a benchtop 3D printer rather than a desktop 3D printer.

A live-feed offers insight on 3D printing progress thanks to the Fuse 1’s integrated webcam. It is also possible to add parts to a build that has already started. The build chamber is removable, making parts removal easier.

Sinterit Lisa Pro

Sinterit Lisa

  • Country: Poland
  • Build volume: 150 x 200 x 260 mm
  • Dimensions: 690 x 500 x 880 mm
  • Weight: 90 kg
  • Price: €11,990
In comparison with the regular Lisa, the Lisa Pro boasts various upgrades and features. For starters, the Pro version is equipped with a Nitrogen chamber.

The chamber prevents oxygen from entering the build volume and oxidizing certain materials. Hence, the Lisa Pro is compatible with more sensitive powders.

The Lisa Pro SLS printer also provides a bigger print volume as well as a larger touchscreen than the Lisa.

The Natural Robotics VIT SLS is a desktop laser sintering 3D printer.

Natural Robotics VIT SLS

  • Country: Spain
  • Build volume: 250 x 250 x 300 mm
  • Hardware dimensions: 800 x 600 x 950 mm
  • Weight: –
  • Price: €11,000
Note: Natural Robotics launched the VIT SLS via Kickstarter in 2017. Shipping was supposed to start mid 2018, but the final product isn’t ready yet.

The VIT SLS offers a relatively large build volume compared to the other 3D printers in this range, allowing for even more parts to be 3D printed at once. A 7-inch touchscreen offers a friendly user experience, and Wi-Fi connectivity enables standalone 3D printing.

Natural Robotics designs and manufactures its 3D printers in Barcelona, Spain. Users can 3D print with generic material thanks to a full access to system calibration, although the VIT SLS is optimized for PA12.

The RED ROCK 3D RED ROCK is a desktop SLS 3D printer that sinters powdered material.


  • Country: Russia
  • Build volume: 180 x 180 x 180 mm
  • Hardware dimensions: 800 x 430 x 770 mm
  • Weight: 35 kg
  • Price: –
Note: This 3D printer is only available in limited quantities and in a limited geographic region.

RED ROCK 3D is a new 3D printer manufacturer from Russia. Its RED ROCK SLS 3D printer offers a relatively large build volume compared to most of the other desktop SLS 3D printers in this selection.

Little information about this SLS 3D printer is available on the RED ROCK 3D website.

Benefits and limits of SLS 3D printing

Benefits of SLS 3D printing

No need for support: 3D printing complex and functional parts

Since unused powder remains in the powder bed, it naturally acts as support for the following sintered layers. This support, which is present all over, allows the 3D printing of very complex and/or functional parts and prototypes.

It’s also possible to 3D print objects within objects, also known as nesting. This is not possible with other 3D printing technologies such as FFF and FDM (extrusion) or SLA and DLP (resins).

Waste reduction

It is possible to re-use powder that has not been sintered. This significantly reduces material waste and costs compared to other 3D printing techniques. Also, no material is wasted on support structures.

Layering objects is possible with SLS 3D printing technology.

Multiple layers of parts to be 3D printed with SLS technology.
Source: Sinterit

Limitations of powder SLS 3D printing

Just like any technology, SLS 3D printing has its downsides:

  • Porosity/rough surface: SLS 3D printed objects are porous, though it is possible to apply sealant to alter their sandy, granular-like surfaces.
  • Expensive material: the price for one kilogram of PA12 powder can range from around $55 to about $180.
  • Logistics: due to the volatile nature of powder, extra caution is required when handling the material and taking the final 3D print out of the powder bed.

In addition, desktop SLS 3D printers still have relatively broad dimensions (and weight)– they’re not like an inkjet paper printer that can casually sit next to a computer. They are more like “bench top” 3D printers that, ideally, need their own workspace.



Compared to Fused Filament Fabrication, SLS can:

  • achieve higher quality prints
  • provide thinner layers and wall thicknesses
  • generate complex 3D prints without the need for support

However, Selective Laser Sintering 3D printers offer much less material choice (and colors).


Compared to stereolithography 3D printing technology, Selective Laser sintering offers:

  • thinner wall thicknesses
  • complex 3D prints without support structures

That being said, SLS 3D prints have rougher surfaces than SLA 3D prints.

SLS vs SLA and SLS vs FDM

Sinterit’s 3D printing technologies comparison.
Credit: Sinterit

SLS 3D printing: what materials are available?

Main desktop SLS 3D printing powders

Most desktop SLS 3D printers use Polyamide (PA) powdered material, also known as Nylon. The main PA powders available on the market are:

  • Nylon PA12
  • Nylon PA11

Then, there are composite or “charged” powders, meaning that different materials are mixed with PA. The most common are the following:

  • Alumide: PA mixed with aluminum (shiny, metallic appearance)
  • Carbonamide: PA reinforced with carbon fiber (stiff and lightweight)
  • Nylon 3200: PA filled with glass (more chemical and heat resistant than PA12)

There is also PEBA 2031, a flexible, rubbery and resistant plastic powder. Some manufacturers produce elastic 3D printing powders (such as Sinterit’s Flexa Black and Flexa Grey) to 3D print shock absorbers, clothing parts, bellows, etc.

Nylon SLS 3D printing material

Nylon, or Polyamide (PA), is the most common powdered material used by SLS 3D printers. It boasts many interesting characteristics:

  • Lightweight: Polyamide is a lightweight 3D printing material.
  • Robust: this material can bear loads or be used for mechanical parts.
  • Flexible: Nylon can bend and come back to its original form.
  • Resistance: PA offers good heat and chemical resistance.

Manufacturers generally sell their own, branded powder material.

SLS 3D printing in general

Desktop SLS printers are limited to plastics when it comes to material choice. However, when using larger, more expensive powder industrial 3D printers, it is possible to 3D print metal powder. Find out more in our metal 3D printing guide.

Sintratec proprietary PA12 powder.

Sintratec’s PA12 powder.
Credit: Sintratec

Other notable professional SLS 3D printers

Polyforge SLS 3D printer

Polyforge was supposed to launch an affordable desktop SLS 3D printer on Indiegogo in 2015. This project seems to have been abandoned.

Sharebot SnowWhite

The SnowWhite is a desktop SLS 3D printer from the well-known Italian manufacturer Sharebot. This 3D printer has been on the market for quite a few years now, and is at a higher price level (€35K) than most of today’s desktop SLS 3D printers.

It also offers a smaller build volume of 100 x 100 x 100 mm, but tolerates generic material.

Norge Ice 1 and Norge Ice 9 (acquired by Prodways)

These two desktop SLS 3D printers are from the Italian manufacturer Norge. The company was acquired by Prodways in 2015. Since then, the Norge Ice evolved into the Prodways P1000, a bigger, industrial SLS 3D printer.

Norge Ice9

The Norge Ice9 SLS 3D printer.

DIY and open source SLS 3D printers

For those who like to make things from scratch, there are a few sources of information and instructions. The process is definitely not as easy as for FFF 3D printer kits, but it’s doable with patience and special precaution. Indeed, laser sintering implies the use of high-power laser beams that can cause irreversible, physical harm.


A 17-year-old German student created his own desktop SLS 3D printer– and the instructions are available online. However, this isn’t a project that one can take up over just one week-end. It requires a lot of time, effort and caution. 


Just as for FFF 3D printers, there is an open source, online page for an SLS 3D printer project on the RepRap website called OpenSLS. The project is under development at Rice University (Houston, Texas) in Dr. Jordan Miller’s Physiologic Systems and Advanced Materials Laboratory.

You-SLS 3D printer

At 18 years old, Lukas Hoppe built his own $2K DIY SLS 3D printer with the help of crowdsourced funds from Indiegogo. His goal was to provide open-source files for everyone, but to this day no You-SLS 3D printer open files are available.


Vulcaman’s DIY-SLS-3D-PRINTER, unassembled.
Credit: Instructables

More 3D printing resources

About this author

Ludivine Cherdo

Ludivine is in charge of Aniwaa's content strategy and works towards providing useful, informative content, including detailed guides based on her deep knowledge of the additive manufacturing scene. She also reviews 3D printers and stays on top of the latest industry news and trends. After growing up in the US and living in Spain, Chile, and Cambodia, Ludivine is now based in France.