Metal 3d printing, also known as direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) and direct metal laser melting (DMLM) is an additive layer technology. A metal 3d printer utilizes a laser beam to melt 20-60 micron layers of metal powder on top of each other. Powdered metal is spread across the entire build platform and selectively melted to previous layers. This additive process allows metal parts to be grown out of a bed of powdered metal. The process is like other polymer based 3D printers that use powder bed fusion.A variety of metal 3d printing materials are also available including stainless steel, cobalt chrome, maraging steel, aluminum, nickel alloy, and titanium.
Parts created are fully dense metal with excellent mechanical properties. Other metal 3d printing processes exist which use a binder, although they produce parts which are not fully dense metal. The process can produce complex geometries which traditional CNC machining processes are not capable of.