Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

What is DMLS?

Also known as: metal powder bed sintering, MPBD, selective laser melting, metal laser melting and direct metal laser melting

DMLS is a metal 3D printing technology that uses a laser to weld powdered metal together to create durable parts in complex geometries that are as strong as machined models. With real-world materials like stainless steel 316, titanium, Inconel, and aluminum, engineers can have end-use parts that can handle demanding applications.

DMLS is best for parts that are too complex or expensive to machine, or where thermoplastics just won’t perform.

3D Print

How does DMLS work?

DMLS uses a high powered laser to weld metal powders to a build platform to grow your part layer by layer. Parts must be heavily supported or able to build on themselves due to the extreme thermal stress of this process.

Applications Using DMLS 3D Printing

DMLS can produce complex geometries not possible with other metal manufacturing technologies. Features such as internal cavities, undercuts, interlocking components, thin walls and conformal features are much easier to achieve with metal sintering than with traditional manufacturing methods. Because metal sintered parts are produced in the same production metals found in machining, parts produced with DMLS are suitable for end-use.

Benefits of DMLS:

  • mechanical properties of parts are almost equal to machined components
  • can handle complex geometries than are impossible to machine or cast
  • materials are identical to those used in traditional manufacturing methods

Challenges of DMLS:

  • expensive to print and to post-process
  • tolerances aren’t are precise as machining, but DMLS parts can be drilled slotted, reamed and milled afterwards to create additional features
  • slow

Design Guidelines for SLS 3D Printing

Minimum Wall Thickness Minimum Feature Size Minimum Space for Interlocking Parts Minimum Size Embossed/Engraved Detail
0.5mm 0.5mm 0.5mm 0.5mm

Escape Holes (2mm-4mm)

Hollowing parts reduces the part volume and saves you money but you need to add escape holes. Be careful, hollowing out a model can cause structural integrity issues.

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