A comparative characterisation of selective laser sintering (SLS) mechanisms of single- and two-component powders is presented. The effects of the volume fraction of liquid phase and the powder absorptance were discussed. Single-component Ni-alloy, Fe and Cu powders as well as two-component powder systems based on Ni-alloy, Fe and Cu were investigated. In particular, the following types of two-component powder systems were studied: Ni-alloy-Cu and Fe-Cu powder mixtures as well as Cu-coated Ni-alloy powder and Cu-coated Fe powders. SLS experiments were performed with a CW-Nd:YAG laser (lambda = 1.06 mum). The acting mechanism in all cases was liquid phase sintering.