Most people familiar with 3D printing know it can quickly and cost-effectively produce a prototype or an end-use part out of plastic, like ABS or PP. But did you know it can also print metal objects? This is possible with direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), which works similarly to selective laser sintering (SLS), but uses powdered metal. DMLS 3D printing is an industrial additive manufacturing technology that builds metal parts one layer at a time by sintering metal powders. As such, it’s possible to build metal objects with highly complex geometries.
If you’re new to DMLS, this guide has the details to help you understand its process and applications.
The DMLS process
DMLS 3D printing starts with your three-dimensional CAD model, which will be imported into the data preparation software to be configured for the printer. When it’s ready, then you are ready to print.
A DMLS 3D printer has a build platform where your part will be printed, a dispenser unit for storing and dispensing the metal powder, and a collector unit that keeps the leftover powders. During printing, the machine sinters the metal powders together to create the object one layer at a time. After printing, the part goes through heat treatment in a vacuum or inert atmosphere to maximize its mechanical properties and remove internal stresses.
Applications of DMLS
DMLS 3D printing is more efficient, faster, and cost-effective in crafting highly complex shapes that may be almost impossible or extensive with other methods. As its technology matures, its value expands to more applications and becomes better understood. Although it’s widely used for rapid prototyping, it can be scaled to meet low-volume end-use manufacturing requirements as long as you work with a capable and experienced service provider.
Today, direct metal laser sintering is practical for aerospace, medical, automotive, turbomachinery, and tooling. It supports product development for die and mold inserts, custom implants, waveguides, and special components for rugged applications.
Build metal parts with DMLS.
Learn more about DMLS 3D printing by consulting our experts here at HLH Proto! Share your project with us, and we’ll provide a free review and a quote. We can print your metal parts fast to support your need to innovate faster and reduce your time to market.