How Selective Laser Sintering Works
The DMLS process beings 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. Once the printing job is done, it is not possible to immediately grab the 3D prints – the printer and the metal parts still need to cool down. Once this period is over, your model is lifted from the powder bed. If your model needed support structures to keep the model structurally sound or to support it while the 3D printer builds it, they will be removed manually.