Direct metal laser sintering and melting, or DMLS/DMLM, is the process of manufacturing metal parts from 20-40-micron powders with 400W lasers. These lasers fuse microlayers of fine metal together to create complex geometries from 3D design files. Because direct metal laser sintering melts and forges metal powders repetitively, the process ensures 99.9% uniquely uniform densities throughout the parts.
The powdered metal is first spread by a sliding arm on the print platform. Then, the powdered metal is laser fused and lowered by a distance equal to a single micron powder layer. This entire process is repeated on tens of thousands of layers until a fully-functional production part is formed. Once the process is finished, the part is ready to be Wire EDM precision-cut from the build platform.
Direct metal laser sintering machines produce parts that are known for their strength, hardness, and densities–each of which are comparable to or better than those of machined, cast, or forged parts of similar metals. In many cases, the rapid solidification rate, after the laser fusing, creates a very fine crystal structure with superior strength to forged or cast components. If the DMLS/DMLM part is heat treated, its density, durability, and strength are even greater.