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Metal sintering (DMSL/SLM)

Introduction to metal sintering (DMSL/SLM)

DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) and SLM (Selective Laser Melting) are additive manufacturing methods. They create 3D metal-printed parts by aggregating fine particles of metal powder, which are then welded together.

The laser is used to sinter a layer of material which is the first to be deposited on the tray. The tray then moves down a notch, and a rake deposits a layer on top of 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 can be used to print metal parts such as aluminum, stainless steel and steel, as well as bronze, gold, etc.

Sintered metal 3D printing is used in industrial production, because the resulting metal parts are as strong as those produced by conventional manufacturing techniques such as machining or casting.

frittage métal SLM

The benefits of 3D printing technology

  • This technology offers major advantages over traditional production techniques, as even complex objects can be produced in a single cycle, thus reducing production costs. It also offers the possibility of printing geometries and structures that cannot be milled on a CNC machine.

    Metal sintering 3D printing combined with topological analysis enables lighter parts to be produced than with conventional manufacturing methods.

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.

Lead times and part design advice

For the dimensions of your parts, we are able to comply with standard NFT 58-000 normal class.

For the Metal Sintering process, please allow 2 to 6 working days, depending on the size and finish of your project. For mini series (up to a few hundred pieces, please contact us for lead times).

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

How does it work?

To obtain a part using metal sintering technology, several steps are necessary:
  • Preparation:
    • First of all, it’s 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 consists of a control computer, 2 powder tanks, a platform, a lens and a laser. Part construction begins with the platform in the upper position, flush with the machine’s construction surface;
    • A layer 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 has been reached, the laser switches on, passes through the lens and follows the trajectory calculated by the control 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 point to reach the melting point and sinter the material;
    • The platform is lowered by 0.10 mm, then a new layer of powder is deposited on top;
    • The various stages then follow one another: the laser taps on the powder to harden it, the platform descends, the roller or arm deposits an even layer of powder, etc, ;
    • Once all the successive layers have been produced, the temperature in the cabin drops, and the entire production run can be accessed.
  • Finish :
    • The cake then looks like a powder cube.
    • It is then placed on a sieve and cooled so that its core is not too hot to avoid any risk of deformation of the parts;
    • Like an archaeological dig, we use brushes and tools to find the prototypes produced in the middle of the powder;
    • The parts are then de-soldered, sandblasted, etc., to remove any excess powder still present.

To find out more about our other additive manufacturing production resources, please visit our our machines page.

Need a quote or information on rapid prototyping?

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