White Paper

Outsourcing vs. In-House: When Does it Make Sense to Bring SLS 3D Printing In-House?

In this whitepaper, we evaluate the value proposition of bringing SLS 3D printers in-house, in comparison with outsourcing SLS parts from a service bureau.

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  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Traditional SLS 3D Printing
  4. SLS 3D Printing Through Service Bureaus. The Only Way?
  5. Applications of SLS 3D Printing
  6. The Fuse Series Brings SLS Within Reach
  7. Testing the Theory: Fuse 1+ 30W In-House vs. Outsourcing SLS Parts
  8. Application 1: Prototyping
  9. Application 2: End-Use Part Production
  10. Application 3: Manufacturing Aids, Rapid Tooling, Replacement Parts
  11. ROI With the Fuse1+30W: Months, Not Years
  12. Conclusion


A 2021 report by service bureau Sculpteo revealed that over 75% of manufacturers are currently using selective laser sintering (SLS) technology for a wide variety of applications. The numbers point to the fact that manufacturers are not early adopters when it comes to powder based 3D printing, but rather the overwhelming majority. With so many companies already relying on SLS parts at different stages in their product development and manufacturing process, the question is not if or how SLS printers will be used, but if it makes budgetary sense to bring them in-house rather than order parts from an external service provider.

Bringing an SLS 3D printer in-house is therefore not about adopting a new technology—it’s a way to take more control over your means of prototyping and production, and save money and time utilizing a technology that is already familiar to the organization. While SLS 3D printing used to be overly expensive and complex, the business case and positive ROI was made drastically more feasible with the arrival of the Fuse Series 3D printers—the first SLS 3D printers that can deliver industrial quality parts at an affordable price and with an accessible footprint.

In this white paper, we look at the differences between outsourcing and in-house SLS 3D printing, and compare and evaluate the costs and lead times for three different applications— prototyping, end-use production runs, and manufacturing aids—using real-life example
parts and scenarios.


Selective laser sintering (SLS) refers to an additive manufacturing process in which a laser sinters one thin layer of powder on top of another, building a part vertically inside a build chamber.

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