Protolabs Q&A: Direct Metal Laser Sintering Part 2
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- In general, where is a break even point between this process and standard machine items, in reference to the number of items produced?
- How much does the resolution setting effect component price?
- What is the maximum size/mass that can currently be made?
- What level of porosity is present in a DMLS part? are secondary operations required to achieve pressure tightness?
- Cost wise, how does the cost of DMLS compare to other rapid prototype methods such as SLA/SLS? is there a part size limit?
- Can a single part be printed with 2 or more materials in one go?
- I see that you are ISO-13485 certified for medical implants with a choice of two biocompatible materials. Is there any specific process you use for them to ensure biocompatibility?
- Where does post-machining come in on DMLS? Can you polish parts? How do you ensure consistency as well as accuracy?
- Are there methods to improve the finish during manufacture, for example, for internal curves and volumes?
- What advantages and disadvantages are there regarding DMLS, and a comparison to other methods such as EBM?
- Do you employ post-printing manufacturing methods to improve the properties of DMLS made components? For example, chemical etching, hot isostatic pressing (HIP), electroplating.
- What are the main challenges you see with 3D printing metals today, and the work being done at a company like Protolabs to overcome these challenges?