Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) Process

Metal parts of the most complex geometries are built layer-by-layer (down to 20 microns) directly from 3D CAD data, without tooling.

The parts have excellent mechanical properties, high detail resolution and exceptional surface quality. The process melts the metal powder entirely, creating a fine, homogenous structure.

DMLS enables the formation of cavities and undercuts which, with conventional methods, can only be produced with great difficulty. In addition, when a part needs to be tested and re-designed over and over, the lead time for receiving a traditionally tooled part can create a large bottleneck in the final production process. Previously, casting the part was the only traditional means of bypassing this process. However castings had limitations and depending on the functional needs of the prototype, a cast part could possibly fail if performance tests are desired on the prototype.

Advantages of the DMLS process:

  • Freedom of design, such as complex internal features
  • Part to part customization – no tooling
  • Components can be produced in variable thickness.
  • Fully dense, high performance materials
  • Ideal for prototypes and low volume production
  • Very efficient material processing – only part mass of material is used and rest is recycled
  • Height of build dictates price – more components per build reduces unit cost

Considerations

  • Minimum wall thickness 0.2mm*
  • Typical lead times 1 .5– 2 weeks depends on material and quantity
  • Typical surface finish 4.5Ra before any machining or polishing

* Subject to geometry and build orientation.