Customised properties of parts manufactured using the selective laser sintering process are achievable by variation of build parameters. The energy density, controlled by laser power, distance between scan lines and speed of the laser beam across the powder bed, all have a very strong influence on the density and the mechanical behaviour of the parts. The present paper investigates the influence of the energy density on physical and mechanical properties of parts produced using polyamide. Additionally, the effect of part orientation during the build is examined. Knowledge of the influence of these parameters allows one to establish trendlines which link build settings to resulting part properties, and hence to fabricate customised parts with predetermined properties. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.