Metal 3D Printing

How Does 3D Metal Printing Work?

3D metal printing is a method of additive manufacturing that allows parts to be built more quickly and efficiently than by utilizing CNC machining. The process creates prototype and production metal parts by using a laser to selectively fuse a fine metal powder. While traditional methods of manufacturing remove material from a piece of stock metal, 3D metal printing processes such as direct metal laser sintering builds parts from the ground up.

This allows for the production of parts with very complex geometries, such as integrated fastening features, custom contours, and metal mesh structures. Using metal 3D printers allows for production of assemblies in a single part form, reducing the number of parts, assembly time, and opportunity for failures. Additionally, since metal 3D printed parts do not require tooling, the initial part manufacturing lead time can be reduced from months to days.


Metal 3D Printing

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Video: How Will It Grow?

Video: How Will It Grow?

What causes metal 3D Printed parts to warp, distort, or have inconsistent features?! Watch our new video to see what factors create a successful DMLS part, and how to implement them for your next project.

Applications

Rapid Tooling

Because DMLS printers can print in metal, they are widely used for rapid tooling, i.e., creating fixtures and jigs.

Rapid Prototyping

DMLS printers are used to make proof of concept models and fully functional late-stage prototypes.

Direct Digital Manufacturing

Cast-quality finish and durable materials have made DMLS printing a favorite technology for end-use products.

Advantages

Rapid Turnaround

DMLS parts do not require tooling, reducing manufacturing lead time from months to days.

Stainless steel parts are built within 5 business days, and aluminum parts are built within 8 business days, allowing for faster innovation and speed to market.

Strength

Utilizes powdered metals with strong mechanical and dynamic properties, making it perfect for end-use parts.

Complex Geometry

Produces parts that cannot be made using traditional manufacturing techniques.

Efficiency

DMLS defies traditional Design-For-Manufacturing guidelines, so designs that would typically be made in assemblies can be made in a singular piece.

Materials

Metals

  • Aluminum
  • Stainless Steel

Finishes

Standard

In addition to the removal of support structures, the part surface is media blasted to provide a uniform finish.

Custom

Additional post processing, such as CNC Machining of features and polishing, are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Metal 3D Printing Design Guide

Metal 3D Printing Design Guide

Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) 3D printing is a revolutionary technology that allows you to create prototypes and end-use parts in a matter of days with reduced cost and little waste.

Learn more about the advantages of metal 3D printing over traditional manufacturing, as well as how to effectively design for DMLS. Download your free guide today.

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