Metal 3D Printing

The metal additive manufacturing system or metal 3D printing process enables printing CAD designs having complex geometries, composite lattice structures, and conformal cooling channels exactly to the specification and with least wastage. Such precision and complex parts are impossible to achieve in traditional manufacturing methods. That's why aerospace, automotive, and medical industries have adopted it for prototyping and production.

Metal 3D Printing Process

At Zeal 3D Printing, we use Direct Metal Laser Sintering process, which is a laser powder bed fusion technology. In this process, the roller of a DMLS printer spreads a thin-layer of aluminum or titanium powder on the powder bed. Then the print chamber is heated up. When the specific area of the powder material is touched by a high-powered laser melting and fusing process starts to produce a three-dimensional solid object layer by layer matching to the CAD design. When printing is finished, the powder bed is left to cool completely following which the part is removed.

What is SLM?

Selective laser melting (SLM) is a rapid prototyping, 3D printing, or Additive Manufacturing (AM) technique designed to use a high power-density laser to melt and fuse metallic powders together. In many SLM is a subcategory of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). The SLM process can fully melt the metal material into a solid 3D-dimensional part unlike SLS. The process starts by slicing the 3D CAD file data into layers, usually from 20 to 100 micrometres thick, creating a 2D image of each layer; this file format is the industry standard .stl file used on most layer-based 3D printing or stereolithography technologies. This file is then loaded into a file preparation software package that assigns parameters, values and physical supports that allow the file to be interpreted and built by different types of additive manufacturing machines.

Metal 3d Printing in Mechanical Industry
Metal 3d Printed Structure
Metal 3d Printing in Automobile Industry

What is DMLS?

Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) is an additive manufacturing metal fabrication technology, occasionally referred to as selective laser sintering (SLS) or selective laser melting(SLM), that generates metal prototypes and tools directly from computer aided design (CAD) data. It is unique from SLS or SLM because the process uses a laser to selectively fuse a fine metal powder.

The DMLS process begins with a 3D CAD model whereby a .stl file is created and sent to the machine’s computer program. A technician works with this 3D model to properly orient the geometry for part building and adds supports structure as appropriate. Once this "build file" has been completed, it is "sliced" into the layer thickness the machine will build in and downloaded to the DMLS machine allowing the build to begin. The DMLS machine uses a high-powered 200-watt Yb-fiber optic laser. Inside the build chamber area, there is a material dispensing platform and a build platform along with a recoater blade used to move new powder over the build platform. The technology fuses metal powder into a solid part by melting it locally using the focused laser beam. Parts are built up additively layer by layer, typically using layers 20 micrometers thick.

Advantages of Metal 3D Printing

It requires our expertise to take full advantages of metal additive manufacturing system that include:

  • Flexibility to use stainless steel, aluminium, titanium, nickel, cobalt-chrome
  • Huge possibilities of a wide range of materials for metal AM system
  • Printed parts can be polished, drilled, and milled
  • Ability to print parts with complex geometries, and multiple features
  • Strong components with minimal waste and fast production
  • Enhanced thermal resistance
  • Increased production efficiency due to the possibility of printing multiple parts on a single platform

Metal 3D Printing Service

We can provide comprehensive metal 3D printing services to a range of industries. Our metal AM system is best for prototyping and final production of lightweight parts, with maximum features, and complex geometries. We can also handle post-printing work required for metal 3D printing. Our design studio has the expertise in processing post-machining work. We are experienced in using tools for drilling, grinding, CNC milling, etc. Our finishing processes ensure that the final products match to the CAD design specifications.

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