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

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.

How Does Metal 3D Printing Work?

The DMLS machine begins sintering each layer—first the support structures to the base plate, then the part itself—with a laser aimed onto a bed of metallic powder. After a cross-section layer of powder is micro-welded, the build platform shifts down and a recoater blade moves across the platform to deposit the next layer of powder into an inert build chamber. The process is repeated layer by layer until the build is complete.

When the build finishes, an initial brushing is manually administered to parts to remove a majority of loose powder, followed by the appropriate heat-treat cycle while still fixtured in the support systems to relieve any stresses. Parts are removed from the platform and support structures are removed from the parts, then finished with any needed bead blasting and deburring. Final DMLS parts are near 100 percent dense.


  • Shipped in as fast as 2 days
  • AS9100 certified
Common Applications
  • prototyping in production-grade materials
  • functional, end-use parts
  • reducing metal components in an assembly

Metal 3D Printing for Production

Improve strength, dimensional accuracy, and cosmetic appearance for end-use metal components with post-processing options like CNC machining and heat treatments.

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NEW: Large Format Metal 3D Printing

We recently added the GE Additive X Line to our fleet of metal 3D printers to build large Inconel 718 parts. Have a project that might be a good fit? Contact us and we can discuss your requirements.

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Metal 3D Printing Design Guide

Learn how to create quality metal 3D-printed components through proper design and post-processing options like heat treatment and CNC machining.


Metal 3D Printing Design Guidelines and Capabilities

Our basic guidelines for metal 3D printing include important design considerations to help improve part manufacturability, enhance cosmetic appearance, and reduce overall production time.


*At this time, Inconel 718 is the only material available on our large format, X Line machine



metal 3d printed part

Metal 3D Printing Material Options


Stainless Steel (17-4 PH)

Stainless Steel 17-4 PH is a precipitation hardened stainless steel that is known for its hardness and corrosion resistance. If needing a stainless steel option, select 17-4 PH for its significantly higher tensile strength and yield strength, but recognize that it has far less elongation at break than 316L. Final parts built 17-4 PH receive vacuum solution heat treatment as well as H900 aging.

Primary Benefits

  • Heat treated for full hardness and strength
  • Corrosion resistance
Stainless Steel (316L)

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
Aluminum (AlSi10Mg)

Aluminum (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

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. Solution and aging per AMS 5663 is also available to increase tensile strength and hardness.

Primary Benefits

  • Oxidation and corrosion resistance
  • High performance tensile, fatigue, creep, and rupture strength
Cobalt Chrome (Co28Cr6Mo)

Cobalt Chrome (Co28Cr6Mo)​ is a superalloy is known for its high strength-to-weight ratio.

Primary Benefits

  • High performance tensile and creep
  • Corrosion resistance
Copper (CuNi2SiCr)

Copper (CuNi2SiCr) is an alloyed copper material, which combines good mechanical properties with thermal and electrical conductivity. This alloy can be used in rough environments where pure copper is not feasible. Copper is structurally stronger, harder, and has higher elongation when compared to AlSi10Mg, which also exhibits thermal and electrical conductivity properties. Final parts built in CuNi2SiCr receive stress relief application.

Primary Benefits

  • Good thermal and electrical conductivity
  • Robust mechanical properties
Titanium (Ti6Al4V)

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. Final parts built in Ti6Al4V receive vacuum stress relief application.

Primary Benefits​

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

Compare Material Properties

15 and 20 μm = high resolution (HR)
30 and 60 μm = normal resolution (NR)

Materials Resolution Condition Ultimate Tensile Strength
(ksi)
Yield Stress
(ksi)
Elongation 
(%)
Hardness
Stainless Steel
(17-4 PH)
20 μm Solution & Aged (H900) 199 178 10 42 HRC
30 μm Solution & Aged (H900) 198 179 13 42 HRC
Stainless Steel
(316L)
20 μm Stress Relieved 89 73 55 94 HRB
30 μm Stress Relieved 92 72 58 94 HRB
Aluminum
(AlSi10Mg) 
15 μm Stress Relieved 45 31 8 46 HRB
30 μm Stress Relieved 50 33 8 59 HRB
Cobalt Chrome
(Co28Cr6Mo)
20 μm As Built 182 112 17 39 HRC
30 μm As Built 176 119 14 38 HRC
Copper
(CuNi2SiCr)
20 μm Precipitation Hardened 72 63 23 87 HRB
Inconel 718 20 μm Stress Relieved 143 98 36 33 HRC
30 μm Stress Relieved 144 91 39 30 HRC
30 μm Solution & Aged per AMS 5663 208 175 18 46 HRC
60 μm Stress Relieved 139 83 40 27 HRC
60 μm Solution & Aged per AMS 5663 201 174 19 45 HRC
Titanium
(Ti6Al4V)
20 μm Stress Relieved 153 138 15 35 HRC
30 μm Stress Relieved 144 124 18 33 HRC
Materials Resolution Condition Ultimate Tensile Strength
(MPa)
Yield Stress
(MPa)
Elongation
(%)
Hardness
Stainless Steel
(17-4 PH)
20 μm Solution & Aged (H900) 1372 1227 10 42 HRC
30 μm Solution & Aged (H900) 1365 1234 13 42 HRC
Stainless Steel
(316L)
20 μm Stress Relieved 614 503 55 94 HRB
30 μm Stress Relieved 634 496 58 94 HRB
Aluminum
(AlSi10Mg) 
15 μm Stress Relieved 310 214 8 46 HRB
30 μm Stress Relieved 345 228 8 59 HRB
Cobalt Chrome
(Co28Cr6Mo)
20 μm As Built 1255 772 17 39 HRC
30 μm As Built 1213 820 14 38 HRC
Copper
(CuNi2SiCr)
20 μm Precipitation Hardened 496 434 23 87 HRB
Inconel 718 20 μm Stress Relieved 986 676 36 33 HRC
30 μm Stress Relieved 993 627 39 30 HRC
30 μm Solution & Aged per AMS 5663 1434 1207 18 46 HRC
60 μm Stress Relieved 958 572 40 27 HRC
60 μm Solution & Aged per AMS 5663 1386 1200 19 45 HRC
Titanium
(Ti6Al4V)
20 μm Stress Relieved 1055 951 15 35 HRC
30 μm Stress Relieved 993 855 18 33 HRC

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.


Post-Processing Capabilities for Metal 3D-Printed Parts

Improve strength, dimensional accuracy, and cosmetic appearance of final metal components with DMLS for production.

Surface Finishing

  • 3- and 5-axis milling
  • Turning
  • Polish (Mirror or Brushed)
  • Passivation
  • Wire EDM
  • Tapping and reaming

Heat Treatments

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

Mechanical Testing

  • Tensile
  • Rockwell Hardness

Powder Analysis & Material

  • Traceability
  • Chemistry
  • Particle size and distribution analysis

direct metal laser sintering part being processed after 3d printing

3d printing technician measures direct metal laser sintering part with CT scanning


Resources


a metal 3D printing technician removes support structures from a DMLS part

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