How 3D Printing Works

How 3D Printing Works

This piece was originally published in the March 2017 issue of electroindustry.

Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) and selective laser sintering (SLS) are additive manufacturing techniques that sinter—that is, use pressure and heat below the melting point—to bond and partly fuse masses of metal particles.

They differ in how the layers are deposited. DMLS fires the laser into a bed of powdered metal, aiming the beam at points in space defined by a 3D computer-assisted design (CAD) model, thus bonding the material together to create a solid structure. SLM, a newer technique, achieves a full melt.

Similar techniques include selective laser sintering, fused deposition modeling, and fused filament fabrication. Others cure liquid materials using sophisticated technologies, such as stereolithography. In laminated object manufacturing, thin layers are cut to shape and joined together.

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