Introduction to metal sintering (DMSL/SLM)

DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) and SLM (Selective Laser Melting) are additive manufacturing methods. They allow the creation of metal 3D printing parts by aggregating fine particles of metal powder that are then welded together.

The laser is used to sinter a layer of material that is the first to be deposited on the plate. The tray then goes down a notch, a rake comes to deposit a layer on the first layer already present. The laser fuses the two layers together to create a three-dimensional object.

The powder used is a metallic powder. This technique allows to print metal parts such as aluminum, stainless steel, steel but also bronze, gold …

3D metal printing by sintering is used in the industry, in production, because the metal parts obtained are as resistant as by the traditional manufacturing techniques like machining or casting.

The benefits of this 3D printing technology

This technology has great advantages over traditional production techniques because even complex objects can be produced in a single production run and thus reduce production costs. It also offers the possibility of printing geometries and structures that cannot be milled on a CNC machine.

Metal sintering 3D printingcombined with topological analysis can produce lighter parts compared to conventional manufacturing methods.

DMLS metal sintering
DMLS metal sintering
metal sintering SLM

Materials and finishes for metal sintering

Please contact us to define the material and finishes you wish to use among these different varieties:

  • Aluminium
  • Stainless steel
  • Inconel
  • Titanium
  • Metal alloys

Deadlines and part design tips

For the dimensions of your parts we are able to respect the standard NFT 58-000 normal class

For the Metal Sintering process, it takes 2 to 6 business days depending on the size and finish of your project. For your mini series (up to a few hundred pieces, please contact us to obtain the deadline).

Regarding the design of your parts, plan for a minimum wall thickness of 0.8mm.

How does it work?

In order to obtain a part via the metal sintering technology, several steps are necessary:
  • Preparation :
    • First of all it is essential to have a 3D file thanks to 3D design software in .STEP or .STL format
    • This file is then processed and cut by us into thin 0.10 mm slices.
  • Construction :
    • This information is transmitted to the production machine. This sintering machine is composed of a pilot computer, 2 powder tanks, a platform, a lens and a laser. The construction of the part begins with the platform in the high position, flush with the construction surface of the machine.
    • A thickness of powder is deposited on the platform using a roller or an arm depending on the machine used.
    • Once the machine is closed, it heats up to reach a certain temperature in the construction cabin.
    • Once this temperature is reached, the laser starts up, passes through the lens and heads according to the trajectory calculated by the pilot computer to trace the contours of the part.
    • On contact with the laser, the powder becomes compact and welded because the heat is increased at this precise location to reach the melting point and sinter the material.
    • The platform drops 0.10 mm, then a new layer of powder is deposited on top.
    • The different stages then follow one another: the laser taps on the powder to harden it, the platform descends, the roller or the arm deposits a uniform layer of powder, etc.
    • Once all the successive layers have been produced, the temperature in the passenger compartment drops, the entire production can be accessed.
  • Finishing :
    • The manufacturing “cake” then looks like a powder cube.
    • It is then placed on a sieve and cooled so that its core is not too hot in order to avoid any risk of deformation of the parts.
    • Like archaeological excavations, using brushes and tools we come to find the prototypes produced in the middle of the powder.
    • The parts are then powdered, sanded, … to remove all the excess powder still present.

To learn more about our other means of production in additive manufacturing, do not hesitate to consult our page dedicated to our machines.

Need a quote or information on rapid prototyping?

Ask us for a quick quote or call us at +33 (0)5 55 06 17 17