EOS Formiga P100
The EOS Formiga P100 is a Selective Laser Sintering machine made by EOS gmbh of Germany. EOS was founded in 1989 and is the largest manufacturer of Laser Sintering systems.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is not actually “3D Printing” but a competing technology. Most people now use 3D Printing as a catch all for Rapid Manufacturing processes.
The SLS process uses a laser that selectively hardens a very fine powder to construct the object. The build platform on which the part is being built moves up as the object “grows.” The powder is applied to the build platform, the laser hardens the part and the rest of the powder remains. Then the platform moves higher and a new layer of powder is applied. The completed, hardened part is then lifted out of what has now become a big block of powder. The remaining powder acts as a support material and can be re-used.
The EOS Formiga P100 is as big as a vending machine and costs between $150,000-240,000 depending on what you buy along with it. It uses a 30 Watt carbon dioxide laser and is capable of a layer thickness of 0.1mm. The maximum build volume is 20cm by 25 by 33(7.9 inches by 9.8 by 13).
A big advantage of this process is that removing support material is simple and quick compared to other processes. You can simply take it out use compressed air to blow away the powder.