Direct Metal Laser Sintering DMLS

What is DMLS?

3D printing technology DMLS, full name Direct Metal Laser Sintering, is a technology that uses a computer-controlled high-power laser beam to melt and fuse metal powder layers together. It can be used for metal additive manufacturing or 3D printing.

This technology is similar to direct metal laser melting (DMLM) or laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) technology. However, the difference is that DMLS is only sintered together, not melted. This is precisely one of the advantages of DMLS. Because alloy materials with different melting points can be combined, and even metal and plastic can be combined. A good example is Alumide, which is a mixture of nylon powder and aluminum powder.

Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) Technology

How does DMLS work?

dmls process
A diagram showing the DMLS process. Source:

Before DMLS printing, a 3D model needs to be created with appropriate software, and then converted into a language code recognized by the printer and provided to the printer.

First, a thin layer of metal powder is distributed on the build platform. Then, the laser of the high-power laser selectively sinters the powder into a solid along the path. This process is repeated layer by layer until the part is complete.

After the part is finished, wait for it to cool, then remove the loose powder around it, and then conduct an appropriate heat treatment. After the parts are taken out, the necessary finishing operations are required, such as sandblasting and deburring.

History of DMLS

DMLS was developed by EOS company located in Munich, Germany. In 1995, EOSINT M 250 introduced the DMLS system for additive manufacturing of metal tools for plastic injection molding, which was the beginning of rapid tooling. In 2001, EOS created a layer thickness of 20 microns for the DMLS process, thereby improving part quality.

Advantages of DMLS

Complex geometries can be printed directly from metal: DMLS can produce complex geometries in construction, which can not be completed by traditional manufacturing processes.

Combine a variety of materials: DMLS can sinter alloy materials with different melting points or metals and plastics.

Rugged functional parts: the characteristics of finished parts printed by DMLS are comparable to those cast with the same material.

Disadvantages of DMLS

High price: DMLS machines and materials are very expensive and the process is slow.

Small parts: most DMLS printers have relatively small build sizes.

LAVA DMLS 3D Printing

Because DMLS 3D printing can directly sinter metal powder, and the price is not very expensive, lava’s customers will choose this process if they need metal 3D printing. Its printing materials include stainless steel, aluminum alloy and so on.

Here are the products printed with DMLS:

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