The Xometry app works best with JavaScript enabled!
Injection molding done your way:Great prices and engineering support on simple and complex jobs
Xometry Logo
CapabilitiesIndustriesResourcesSuppliesBecome a Supplier
Sign In
Cookie Policy
Xometry stores cookies on your computer to provide more personalized services to you, both on this website and through other media. By using this website, you consent to the cookies we use and our Privacy Policy.
Blog3D Printing Design
Xometry Image

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.

Team Xometry - Xometry Contributor
By Team Xometry
 3 min read
Tapping Away Part 01: Common Problems, Causes, and Corrections for Taps and Tap Sets
September 18, 2020
 7 min read
Video: How Will It Grow? Part 2
September 18, 2020
 3 min read

You can revolutionize 3D Printed prototypes and custom production end-use parts through Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), a metal printing process. As with any manufacturing process, there are design considerations to keep in mind to avoid several iterations to reach a successful prototype, which can speed up the designing process.

In our latest video, Director of Applications Engineering Greg Paulsen walks through how to think about your design's geometry as it 'grows' from bottom to top to greatly reduce prototyping stages. Learn about support structures and key design considerations for overhanging features, horizontal holes, and more!

How can you instantly optimize your metal 3D printed parts? Watch and find out!

Natural Growth

Certain parts can suffice as naturally grown, which means they are only attached to the build plate from their base. This attachment can then be cleanly removed through manual manipulation, wire EDM, or CNC Machining.

Parts that are not very complex or don't include overhanging features, horizontal holes, or smaller tolerances will fare well with little to no support structures.

Combination of Supported and Natural Growth

This part required a combination of support structures on downward faces, and natural growth on the upper side. This was because there are gear teeth on both sides, and we wanted to allow the naturally grown side to remain smooth. As a result, the other side is slightly rougher due to the steel support structures included.

When you are creating high quantities of a part, or a design will be used multiple times, it's important to start considering self-supporting structures. This is especially true for more complex parts. Aspects of your design such as overhanging features and surface roughness will be affected depending on how much support is needed.

Supported Growth

This featured part was not designed specifically for DMLS production. As a result, it required a creative build orientation along with lattice style supports to hold the piece at a 45 degree angle as it grew. The build angle was required to reduce overall surface area for each layer during build. If the part had been oriented flat, the entire base would have been prone to warping. This 45 degree orientation helped the cutout features to grow naturally, and also minimized supports on overhanging features during the build.

Minor tweaks on a design, such as adding pocketing to only one side or using diamond-shaped horizontal holes will mitigate supports during builds.

Slide 1 of 3
  • Natural DMLS Growth

Natural Growth

Key Takeaways

When you design your part to take advantage of all that DMLS offers, you can greatly reduce support requirements and therefore get better tolerances and repeatability. These decisions will also depend on whether this part is a bridge prototype or moving to production.

Our DMLS Design Guide includes key designing details for optimizing your DMLS parts.

Don’t forget to check out our other 3D Printing challenges: What Will It Look Like?, Will It Melt?, Will It Fit?

Team Xometry - Xometry Contributor
Team Xometry
This article was written by various Xometry contributors. Xometry is a leading resource on manufacturing with CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, 3D printing, injection molding, urethane casting, and more.

Quick Links

  • Contact Us

  • Help Center

  • Our Story

  • Xometry Go Green

  • Careers

  • Legal

  • Press

  • Refer a Colleague


  • 7529 Standish Place

    Suite 200-220

    Rockville, MD 20855

  • 7940 Cessna Avenue
    Gaithersburg, MD 20879

  • 7315 Wisconsin Ave
    Suite 300 East
    Bethesda, MD 20814

  • 446 East High Street
    Lexington, KY 40507

  • 11777 San Vicente Blvd
    Suite 747
    Los Angeles, CA 90049

  • 117 Wright Industrial Cove
    Jackson, TN 38301

  • Ada-Lovelace-Str. 9
    85521 Ottobrunn, Germany
    +49 32 22 109 8186

Xometry Go Green Initiative

© 2021 Xometry, All Rights Reserved