Design Guidelines: Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

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 9.6 in. x 9.6 in. x 13.0 in.
Normal Resolution (X Line*) 31.5 in. x 15.7 in. x 19.7 in. 
High Resolution 3.5 in. x 3.5 in. x 2.7 in.
Normal Resolution 245mm x 245mm x 330mm
Normal Resolution (X Line*) 400mm x 800mm x 500mm
High Resolution 88mm x 88mm x 70mm

*These parts can only be built in Inconel 718


Layer Thickness

Normal Resolution 0.00118 in.
Normal Resolution (X Line)  0.00236 in.
High Resolution 0.00079 in.
Normal Resolution 30 microns
Normal Resolution (X Line) 60 microns
High Resolution 20 microns

Minimum Feature Size

Normal Resolution 0.015 in.
Normal Resolution (X Line) 0.030 in.
High Resolution 0.006 in.
Normal Resolution 0.381mm
Normal Resolution (X Line) 0.762mm
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.

Design Essentials for 3D Printing

The 3D Printing Essentials reference guide offers guidelines and key considerations when designing for industrial 3D printing processes.


3D Printing Surface Finish Guide

Download this quick reference guide that looks at all of your surface finish options across our six additive manufacturing technologies.



  • Aluminum /  AlSi10Mg
  • Cobalt Chrome
  • Inconel 718 
  • Stainless Steel 17-4 PH
  • Stainless Steel 316L
  • Titanium / Ti 6-4
  • Copper / CuNi2SiCr



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

Production Capabilities

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


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

Powder Analysis & Material

  • Traceability
  • Chemistry
  • Particle size and distribution analysis
  • Mechanical coupon testing

Mechanical Testing

  • Tensile
  • Rockwell Hardness
  • Fatigue
  • Vibration

Heat treatments

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


direct metal laser sintering part being processed after 3d printing

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


We use GE Additive Concept Laser Mlab, Mlab 200R, M2, and X Line 2000R machines for DMLS production that offer large build sizes, produce accurate parts, and provide quick turnaround times. The Mlab and Mlab 200R are ideal for manufacturing metal components with elaborate structures, and they are ideal when high surface quality and fine component structures are needed on parts. The M2 is a large platform machine that is able to produce larger metal parts than the Mlab, and the X Line 2000R can produce parts with build volumes as large as 800mm by 400mm by 500mm. 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

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