Direct Metal Laser Sintering

3D Printed Metal Parts for Prototyping, Rapid Tooling, and Digital Manufacturing

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Advantages of DMLS

Complex Geometry

DMLS produces parts that cannot be made using traditional manufacturing techniques.

Strength

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

Efficiency

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

Rapid Turnaround

DMLS parts do not require tooling which reduces the manufacturing lead time from weeks to days, allowing for faster innovation and speed to market.

DMLS Materials

Metals

  • Aluminum
  • Stainless Steel

DMLS Finishes

Standard

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

Additional Finishes

Additional DMLS post processing, such as CNC Machining of features and polishing, are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For examples of our additional finishes, please refer to the DMLS section of our photo gallery.

Applications for DMLS

Rapid Tooling

Because DMLS printers can print in metal, they are widely used for rapid tooling, 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.

Overview: What is DMLS?

The Basics of Direct Metal Laser Sintering

Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) is an additive 3D metal printing technology that builds prototype and production metal parts from a CAD file, producing complex geometries without the need for tooling. DMLS uses a laser to selectively fuse a fine metal powder in either stainless steel or aluminum materials. Many consider it a subset of the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process typically used to 3D print plastic materials like nylon.

How Direct Metal Laser Sintering Works

A Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) printing machine is capable of producing highly complex features and all-in-one assemblies using metal materials that would be hard to achieve with more traditional subtractive manufacturing techniques such as CNC milling or turning.

DMLS uses a high power laser to melt and fuse fine metallic powders together based on a 3D CAD design file. The typical DMLS process begins by slicing the 3D design CAD file data into extremely thin layers, effectively generating a 2D file for each layer. This is similar to other 3D printing technologies such as SLS and SLA. The machine then coats a layer of fine metal powder onto a build or substrate plate, and a high-intensity laser traces the design according to each layer, heating and fusing the powders together. This process repeats layer by layer until the entire part is printed.

Benefits of Direct Metal Laser Sintering

Direct Metal Laser Sintering is a groundbreaking manufacturing technology, in that it can rapidly create metal parts that are more complex and dense than subtractive manufacturing techniques can achieve. DMLS is able to support internal design features that cannot be created by other machining processes, allowing for greater design innovation.

Additionally, where traditional techniques would require several parts to be made and assembled, DMLS is able to create the parts all at once. This strengthens the finished part overall, while reducing the weight and cost of production significantly.

DMLS techniques can also create parts at a high density that other manufacturing processes are unable to match. This makes it ideal for parts which will be under high pressure, such as in oil and gas industries.

The Benefits of Working With Xometry For Direct Metal Laser Sintering

Our Manufacturing Partner Network gives you massive production capacity on demand with a wide range of DMLS machines and materials. Our DMLS printing service typically offers build volumes up to 250 x 250 x 325 mm, but we may be able to accommodate larger part volumes upon request in the quote — see our Manufacturing Standards for more details.

Industries that use DMLS

DMLS is a high-end technology that is still being developed to its full potential. The process is ideal for making complex components and functional prototypes in industries like oil, gas, medical, defense, aerospace, and robotics.

Featured DMLS Resources

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.

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