When parts need to be fabricated from metal, then Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) is the best 3D printing/direct digital manufacturing practice. Most 3D printing/direct digital manufacturing processes produce parts in either plastic or rubber, but DMLS is a manufacturing process that can build metal parts in materials ranging from aluminum, cobalt chrome, steel, nickel alloy, and titanium.
DMLS can be a good alternative to traditional CNC machining, but how do you know when is the correct time to use it?
Fixture and Tooling Cost
Traditional machining processes may require fixtures or tooling. DMLS does not require any fixture or tooling, which will help reduce your total project cost.
DMLS is ideal for short run/low-volume parts. This is because parts can be built together on the same build.
Parts with unique surfaces or features can be easier to produce in DMLS rather than traditional machining or casting. This is because material is sintered layer by layer.
Lead times for machined parts can range from 2-4 weeks for prototype parts, to 8-10 weeks for production parts. DMLS can deliver parts as quickly as 1-2 weeks.
The DMLS process is used heavily in the following industries:
-Medical and Dental Instruments
On your next project that requires durable, accurate metal parts with fine detail, then consider DMLS. Visit our material page to see what material will work best for your project.