Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

DMLS is identical to SLS, except that the machine sinters metal powder instead of plastic powder. The model does not require a finishing stage.

According to custompart.net, DMLS is capable of printing steel alloys, stainless steel, tool steel, aluminum, bronze, cobalt-chrome, titanium, and ceramics.

One of the most common uses for DMLS is “rapid tooling,” which is the production of specialized tools that go in machines; these tools may be specific to one application in one machine and therefore aren’t produced in mass quantities. The cost of traditionally producing one of these pieces (by CNCing, casting, etc.) is extremely expensive and wasteful in comparison to printing it. DMLS has proven successful for making these sorts of parts.

Moldmakingtechnology.com has an excellent article on a 2003 collaboration between two companies (Morris Technologies and Extreme Tool & Engineering) testing the pros and cons of using DMLS to make molds. They were somewhat disappointed with the results.

Advantages?
• No waste is generated and little energy is used, as compared to traditionally machining an object. This is great for prototypes and one-offs.

Disadvantages?
• In Morris and ET&E’s test, the mold they printed had a considerable amount of warpage and required additional machining, as well as polishing. Bottom line: not a good solution for moldmaking.

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2 Responses to “Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)”

  1. Laserinformationen - Der Blog » Blog Archive » Rapid Prototyping Technologien Says:

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  2. Monisha Vohra Says:

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