The SLRS process is similar to standard SLS metal printing, though instead of using an inert gas to allow for increased bonding between particles and to expunge any oxygen, the chamber is filled with a reactive gas which the sintering laser breaks down and causes a reaction to form a non-oxide ceramic.
The powder used is a mix of the metal and metal-oxide precursor, the metal experiences a positive volume change while the oxide undergoes a negative volume change. By optimizing the ratio of metal to metal-oxide powder, “net-shape” geometry can be produced. The SLRS process is materials agnostic which lends itself to any carbide or nitride ceramic.
This manufacturing method does not require post processing unlike other non-oxide ceramic AM solutions. With other technologies, a plastic binder may be used and the printed object will need to undergo a debinding and sintering process which shrinks the part anisotropically, or the part may require supports that need to be cut or machined away. SLRS technology will greatly reduce the turnaround time for non-oxide ceramic parts and use less energy compared to other methods.