Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) is an additive manufacturing process specifically using metals as the material. Most alloys can be used in the DMLS process but 17-4 Precipitation Hardened (PH) and 15-5 PH stainless steel are the most common. The process was invented and patented by Pierre Ciraud in the 1970’s and EOS of Germany is now the main manufacturer of DMLS technology.
Like all AM processes, DMLS begins with a data cloud file from a CAD program being loaded into the printer. The laser sintering 3d printer then uses a 200 watt Yb-fiber optic laser to sinter the file’s first layer into a bed of metal powder. A blade then sweeps a fresh layer of powder onto the first layer and sinters it; repeating the process. The machine sequentially builds the object layer by layer until it is complete.
DMLS’s capability of making precise and extremely dense metal parts quickly make it ideal for single or small-lot quantities needs. DMLS made parts are common in medical, aerospace, dental and other industries where small complex parts are critical.