In selective laser melting (SLM) products are built by melting layers of metal powder successively. Optimal process parameters are usually obtained by scanning single vectors and subsequently determining which settings lead to a good compromise between product density and build speed. This paper proposes a model that describes the effects occurring when scanning single vectors. Energy absorption and heat conduction are modeled to determine the temperature distribution and melt pool characteristics for different laser powers, scan speeds and layer thicknesses. The model shows good agreement with experimentally obtained scan vectors and can therefore be used to predict SLM process parameters.