3D Systems (Valencia, Calif.) offers the Vanguard and Vanguard HS (High Speed), the fourth generation of its patented Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technologies, which reportedly enable the user to move directly from a CAD file, via any native STL file, to a master model, prototype or a finished part in as little as one day, a fraction of the time required for traditional CNC machining and tooling processes. The first SLS systems developed specifically for manufacturing applications, they can produce small volumes of plastic or metal parts or, for larger production runs, build durable metal tools and/or tooling inserts. Parts are built with successive layers of specially developed thermoplastic and/or metal powders. A laser sinters (fuses) each powder layer, based on STL file data. After they are programmed and loaded, the machines operate unattended and can produce complex 3-D details as small as 0.5 mm (0.02 inch).