Why choose Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)?

DMLS is often used when the geometry or structure of a part is not possible to create in any other metal manufacturing process. The ability to manufacture small parts with exceptionally fine detail provides design freedom to produce unique parts which is not possible with traditional manufacturing methods.

Another strength of the parts produced using the direct metal sintering process is their excellent mechanical properties. Parts created using DMLS materials tend to be stronger and denser than wrought materials and this makes them tough functional prototypes. For parts built in Ti64 on our M290 machine, mechanical and density testing results demonstrate that we can match or achieve higher results than standards ASTM F2924 and ASTM F3001. Furthermore, for both non-HIP and HIP treated Ti64 parts from our M290 machine, mechanical results demonstrate we can achieve as good as minimum values given from sheet and wrought bar AMS 4911 and AMS 4928.

DMLS can significantly reduce the time to market. Components require no tooling which means design changes can be implemented quickly, therefore parts can be built overnight and be in use within days.

Unsure if DMLS is the right technology for your project?

View our process comparison table

Technical specifications

Standard lead time: 5-7 days. If your project is urgent, please let a member of sales team know so that we can investigate if anything can be done to improve the lead time
Minimum feature size:
Normal resolution: 0.2mm
High resolution: 0.1mm
Layer thickness:
Normal resolution: 0.03-0.06mm
High resolution: 0.015-0.025mm
Tolerances: Typically, expected tolerances on well-designed parts are:

Normal resolution: +/- 0.10/100mm
High Resolution: +/-0.10/100mm
Max part size:
Normal resolution : 250 x 250 x 300mm
High resolution : 90 x 90 x 90mm
Machines: EOS M290, Concept Laser Hi Res MLabs

Please note figures provided above are expected tolerances, we cannot guarantee part tolerance.

Materials

Stainless Steel 316L
Stainless Steel 316L
  • Tough material with good thermal and mechanical properties
  • Acid and corrosion resistant
  • High ductility
  • Maximum part dimensions: 90 x 90 x 90mm

 

Aluminium AlSi10Mg
Aluminium AlSi10Mg
  • Aluminium alloy that combines good strength, hardness and dynamic properties
  • High corrosion resistance
  • Ideal for applications that require low weight
  • Good thermal and electrical conductivity
  • Properties can be modified with heat treatments
  • Maximum part dimensions: 250 x 250 x 300mm

 

Titanium Ti64
Titanium Ti64
  • High strength-to-weight ratio alloy
  • Wear and corrosion resistant
  • Fracture toughness and fatigue resistance
  • Excellent biocompatibility
  • Available as Grade 5 (our standard material) and Grade 23 (ELI) (on request)
  • Maximum part dimensions: 250 x 250 x 300mm

 

Hardening Stainless Steel 17-4PH
Hardening Stainless Steel 17-4PH
  • Precipitation hardened stainless steel known for its high strength and good mechanical properties
  • Excellent chemical resistance
  • Can be heat treated to maximise strength and hardness properties
  • Maximum part dimensions: 90 x 90 x 90mm

Finishing Options

LPE has a team of experienced in-house traditional model makers and CNC machinists allowing us to offer our customers a range of post processing options for our metal parts.

  • Standard

    Components produced using the DMLS process are sanded to remove support structures and build lines but additional finishing may need to be requested if a smooth finish is required.

  • Polished

    Metal parts can be polished to provide surface finish under 1 Ra um.

    LPE have developed proprietary techniques to facilitate advanced surface finishing of metal parts which can be used when superior surface finish of metal parts is required.

  • Post machining

    LPE has 5axis and 3axis CNC machines in-house along with EDM machines which means we can offer post processing of our DMLS components to meet tight engineering tolerances.

  • Heat treatments

    LPE has a Nabotherm LH216/12 gas controlled furnace in-house which can be used to offer thermal post treatment for both reactive and non-reactive metals (ASTM F2924). These treatments can facilitate improved mechanical properties and stress relieving benefits.

  • Tapping and reaming of metal parts

    Metal parts can be hand tapped or reamed to facilitate tight fittings for assembly tolerances.

Finish Options Image

Direct Metal Laser Sintering Production

We offer a complete contract manufacturing service and qualification route that we have developed in conjunction with the standards ASTM/ISO F3301 and FF3302. Our QMS quality management system allows us to manufacture repeatable and reliable metal parts.

As part of our production manufacturing process we can offer:

  • Process control documents (PCD)
  • Powder certification and analysis (batch control, size distribution and chemical analysis)
  • Machine certification (calibration certified, in-build laser power monitoring)
  • Quality reports from each build
  • Mechanical testing
  • Physical analysis, including porosity and density, surface and dimensional analysis
  • Heat treatments certification (reports from our fully instrumented in-house inert gas box furnace)
  • Advanced heat treatment certification, hot isotonic pressing (HIP) (full cycle reporting from certified heat treatment facility, customised cycles available)

Applications

Metal Sintering is suitable for low volume production and one- off prototypes.

Application Prototypes in production- grade materials

Application Aerospace and Automotive Components

Application Tooling Inserts for Plastic Moulding & Die Casting

Application High Temperature Applications

Application Medical Devices

Application Dental Devices

Application Acid & Corrosion Resistant Prototypes

Application Plant Engineering components

Application Heat exchangers and heatsinks

Application Functional end-use production parts

Why LPE?

Our in-house additive manufacturing facilities consist of multiple state-of-the-art DMLS machines with optimised machine parameters and a wide range of materials offering superior mechanical properties. We are one of only a few bureaus to offer metal sintering parts in high resolution.

LPE are an ISO 9001 & 13485 approved supplier, with over 30 years of industry experience. We have developed qualification routes for AM production components. If requested we can provide first article inspection reports, certificates of compliance, PCD documents, machine quality reports, MILL certificates and will work with you to ensure any quality requirements in relation to your production requirements are met.

We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of this emerging 3D printing technology and have been actively involved in R&D in this field for several years. We utilise enhanced simulation software ensuring that complex parts build correctly first time.

Our in-house post processing abilities are second to none and include post machining and inspection capabilities (5axis and 3axis CNC machines along with CMM), heat treatments, mechanical tensile and density testing capabilities, metal polishing expertise and advanced finishing techniques.

Customer service lies at the heart of everything we do at LPE, from tailored quotes to a personalised service. If you feel you could benefit from chatting directly to an expert about your project, contact us now.

Learn more about why you should choose LPE as your preferred DMLS 3D Printing partner.

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How does DMLS work?

The Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) process is an emerging 3D printing technology in which 3D CAD data is converted into physical solid models, layer by layer, by selectively fusing areas of metal powder with a powerful laser.

Initially the DMLS machine laser will be aimed onto a bed of metallic powder and it will draw the support structures required onto the build plate, then it draws the part itself. Each time a layer is sintered, the build plate will drop and a recoater blade will move across the platform to deposit the next layer of powder to be sintered. This process repeats layer by layer until the entire part has been built. When the build is completed the build platform is removed and loose powder is brushed away. While the parts are still attached to the build plate they may receive heat treatment or shot peening. Parts are then typically removed from the build platform using either a saw or EDM. Parts will then ready to be post machined, barrel rumbled or hand finished.

Contact us now for a fast, competitive quotation on your latest project.