Design Guidelines: Direct Metal Laser Sintering

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


Maximum Dimensions

Normal Resolution 9.68 in. x 9.68 in. x 10.8 in.
High Resolution 3.5 in. x 3.5 in. x 2.6 in.
Normal Resolution 245.872mm x 245.872mm x 274.32mm
High Resolution 88.9mm x 88.9mm x 66.04mm


Layer Thickness

Normal Resolution 0.00118 in.
High Resolution 0.00079 in.
Normal Resolution 30 microns
High Resolution 20 microns

Minimum Feature Size

Normal Resolution 0.015 in.
High Resolution 0.006 in.
Normal Resolution 0.381mm
High Resolution 0.153mm
a bed of 3D printed metal parts

For well-designed parts, tolerances of ±0.003 in. (0.076mm) plus ±0.001 in./in. (0.001mm/mm) for each additional inch can typically be achieved. Note that tolerances may change depending on part geometry.




  • Aluminum
  • Cobalt Chrome
  • Inconel 718 
  • Stainless Steel 17-4 PH
  • Stainless Steel 316L
  • Titanium / Ti 6-4



a laser fuses metal powder together in layers to farm a final part

Surface Finishes

STANDARD Expect roughness values of 200 to 400 µin Ra (0.005 to 0.010mm Ra), depending on material and resolution.
Secondary options include hand-polished or machined surfaces upon request. When tighter tolerances are required, we can provide secondary machining operations such as drilling, slotting, milling, and reaming.

a 3D printing technician removes metal supports on a DMLS part


We use multiple Concept Laser Mlab and M2 machines for DMLS production that offer large build sizes, produce accurate parts, and provide quick turnaround times. The Mlab is ideal for manufacturing metal components with elaborate structures, and is ideal when high surface quality and fine component structures are needed on parts. The Concept Laser M2 is a large platform machine that is able to produce larger metal parts than the Mlab. All of our 3D printing equipment can handle both reactive and non-reactive metal powder.

a row metal 3D printing machines for DMLS

Applications engineers discuss 3D printing CAD model

Instant quotes on 3D-printed parts


Request More Information

Thanks! We’ve received your message and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.

You can find more information about Protolabs here:

Thanks for your interest in Protolabs. Please let us know how we can provide more information on our services. Once we receive your comments, an applications engineer from our team will follow-up as soon as possible.

If you have a 3D CAD model of your part ready, upload it online now to receive an interactive quote with free design for manufacturability feedback within hours.