Direct Metal Laser Sintering - 3D Printing Services

Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) for Metal 3D Printing

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ISO 9001:2015 | ISO:13485 | DNV Qualification of Manufacture Certification for Inconel 718

Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) is an industrial metal 3D printing process that builds fully functional metal prototypes and production parts in 7 days or less. A range of metals produce final parts that can be used for end-use applications.

Metal 3D printing technology is commonly used for:

  • Prototyping in production-grade materials
  • Complex geometries
  • Functional, end-use parts
  • Reducing metal components in an assembly

Metal 3D Printing (DMLS) Design Guidelines and Capabilities

Metal 3D printed part made using DMLS

Metal 3D Printing Material Options

Stainless Steel (316L)
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Stainless steel 316L is a workhorse material used for manufacturing acid and corrosion resistant parts. Select 316L when stainless steel flexibility is needed; 316L is a more malleable material compared to 17-4 PH. Final parts built in 316L receive stress relief application.

Primary Benefits

  • Acid and corrosion resistance
  • High ductility


Aluminium (AlSi10Mg)
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Aluminium (AlSi10Mg) is comparable to a 3000 series alloy that is used in casting and die casting processes. It has good strength -to-weight ratio, high temperature and corrosion resistance, and good fatigue, creep and rupture strength. AlSi10Mg also exhibits thermal and electrical conductivity properties. Final parts built in AlSi10Mg receive stress relief application.

Primary Benefits

  • High stiffness and strength relative to weight
  • Thermal and electrical conductivity


Inconel 718
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Inconel is a high strength, corrosion resistant nickel chromium superalloy ideal for parts that will experience extreme temperatures and mechanical loading. Final parts built in Inconel 718 receive stress relief application.

Primary Benefits

  • Oxidation and corrosion resistance
  • High performance tensile, fatigue, creep and rupture strength


Titanium (Ti6Al4V)
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Titanium (Ti6Al4V) is a workhorse alloy. Versus Ti grade 23 annealed, the mechanical properties of Ti6Al4V are comparable to wrought titanium for tensile strength, elongation, and hardness.

Primary Benefits​

  • High stiffness and strength to relative weight
  • High temperature and corrosion resistance


Maraging Steel
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Maraging Steel 1.2709 is a pre-alloyed ultra high strength steel in fine powder form. Its composition corresponds to US classification 18% Ni Maraging 300, European 1.2709 and German X3NiCoMoTi 18-9-5. This kind of steel is characterized by having very good mechanical properties, and being easily heat-treatable using a simple thermal age-hardening process to obtain.

Primary Benefits​

• High strength
• High hardness
• Good High-temperature resistance


Cobalt Chrome
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Cobalt-Chrome material is used in our DMLS process. It is a superalloy comprised primarily of cobalt and chromium, and is known for its high strength-to-weight ratio, excellent creep and corrosion resistance.

Primary Benefits​

• High strength
• Creep and corrosion resistance
• Excellent biocompatibility


Compare Material Properties

Materials Resolution Condition Ultimate Tensile Strength
Yield Stress

Stainless Steel

20/50 μm As Built 570 MPa +/- 30 MPa 470 MPa +/- 30 MPa 40 +/- 5% 85m+/- 5 HRB
20/50 μm Heat Treated 570 MPa +/- 30 MPa 33 +/- 5 MPa 35 +/- 5% 85 +/- 5 HRB
Aluminium (AlSi10Mg) 30/60 μm As Built 360 MPa +/- 30 MPa 240 MPa +/- 30 MPa 6 +/- 5% 120 +/- 5 HBW
30/60 μm Heat Treated >267 MPa >200 MPa 10 +/- 2% -
Cobalt Chrome
20 μm ASTM F75 1080 MPa +/- 50 MPa 600 MPa +/- 50 MPa 20 +/- 2% 30 +/- 2 HRC
Inconel 718 50/60 μm As Built 960 MPa +/- 50 MPa 600 MPa +/- 50 MPa 30 +/- 5% Ca. 30 HRC
50/60 μm Annealed 980 MPa +/- 50 MPa 630 MPa +/- 50 MPa 30 +/- 5% Ca. 30 HRC
50/60 μm Annealed & Age Hardened >1240 MPa > 940 MPa 12% Ca. 47 HRC
20/30/60 μm As Built 1200 MPa +/- 50 MPa 1050 MPa +/- 50 MPa 8 +/- 2% 33 +/2 HBW
20/30/60 μm Heat Treated > 930 MPa > 860 Mpa >10% 33 +/-2 HBW

These figures are approximate and dependent on a number of factors, including but not limited to, machine and process parameters. The information provided is therefore not binding and not deemed to be certified. When performance is critical, also consider independent lab testing of additive materials or final parts.

metal 3D Printing with custom surface finish

Surface Finishes

Read our guide to 3D printing surface finishes. This guide will give you a quick look at the finishing options available at Protolabs.

Learn More

Production Capabilities for Metal 3D Printing

Looking for an additive manufacturing solution for production projects? With our metal 3D printing technology, you’re able to choose from several secondary processes like post-process machining, tapping, reaming, and heat treatments that produce end-use production parts. To ensure high-quality parts, we also offer powder analysis, material traceability, process validation, and inspection reporting, and our direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) 3D printing process is ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certified. It’s industrial 3D printing designed around your project needs—whether prototyping or production.

1. Expertise
Consultative quoting and design feedback from our experienced engineering team and reliability from a manufacturer that has 3D printed millions of unique geometries over the last two decades.

2. Project Management
Dedicated project management support for all of your production needs from part design to finishing processes.

3. Scale
More than 100 industrial-grade metal and polymer 3D printers across five additive manufacturing technologies supporting production projects in various engineering-grade materials.

4. Quality
Rigorous process controls and engineering staff focused on achieving parts with tight tolerances, dimensional accuracy, and robust mechanical properties.

Post-Process Machining

Metal 3D Printing - DMLS post machining - additive Manufacturing

Achieve tight tolerances while having the design freedom of additive manufacturing.

  • 3- and 5-axis milling
  • Turning
  • Wire EDM
  • Tapping

Powder Analysis & Material Traceability

Engineer cleaning DMLS 3D printed part

Analysis of powder and traceability of the supplier to meet your production requirements. 

  • Traceability
  • Chemistry
  • Particle size and distribution analysis

Mechanical Testing

Engineer mechanically testing DMLS parts made using metal 3D Print

Certified testing to confirm mechanical requirements on production parts.

  • Tensile
  • Hardness Testing
  • Fatigue
  • Vibration

Heat treatments

Specialised heat treatment processes improve the mechanical properties of parts by relieving internal stresses that develop during the sintering process. 

• Stress relief
• Hot isostatic pressing (HIP)
• Solution annealing
• Aging

Quality Inspections & Reports

Validate part geometry and evaluate material structure for quality reporting.

• Dimensional inspections with report
• First article inspection (FAI)
• CMM, optical, and CT scanning
• X-ray
• Surface roughness and porosity analysis
• Certificate of compliance with parts tracking



Post processing of a DMLS part

Protolabs certified to ISO 9001:2015

ISO Certification

Protolabs FAI Certification

Protolabs DNVGL-ST-B203 Certified

About Metal 3D Printing


Why use Direct Metal Laser Sintering?

DMLS materials are generally accepted to be equal or better than those of wrought materials. DMLS is also ideal when the geometry or structure of the part is not possible in any other process (for weight saving designs using honeycomb or latice structures for example). Protolabs can also produce parts for implant medical applications. We also offer a number of secondary services such as painting, post machining and measurement and inspection, to further enhance the finish of your 3D-printed project design.

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