Selective Laser Melting (SLM) is a 3D printing technique with possibilities that make it ideal for several projects.
SLM utilizes a metal powder to build objects layer by layer. The metals it works with can be pure or alloys as long as it is in a powdered form. It works by using a precise laser to weld metal powder particles together in an enclosed environment as directed by a computer.
For those who know 3D printing, SLM sounds similar to Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). However, SLM works not by sintering layers together like SLS, but by fully melting the metal powder. This results in a stronger object with very little chance for voids that have no material infill, which can be a problem with SLS.
Being able to 3D print a strong metal part offers many design possibilities for all sorts of manufacturing. Metallic parts are often necessary for a project due to durability, strength, and other unique properties, but 3D printing has been limited to metal printing for quite some time. SLM removes many of the issues that used to come with 3D printing metal, resulting in much stronger final products.
Thanks to this, the ability of 3D printing to generate cost-effective parts with unique, even tricky, geometries is available for metallic products. SLM parts have a high tensile strength and can withstand a great deal of stress. 3D printing allows unusual curves and angles to be quickly taken from a computer design to reality without compromising needed strength.
SLM parts use only the powder they need to produce the part and any required structural supports. The excess will be recycled and used for another print job. This makes it a highly efficient and environmentally-friendly form of manufacturing, no matter how small of a production run you are looking to make.
These parts will need post-processing and finishing after a print. SLM parts will be attached to a base plate to maintain the integrity and may require additional structural supports. These will all be carefully removed during post-processing.
At JawsTec, we can help you use metal 3D printing for your project, whether large or small. Whether you are looking to create custom parts or want to design a unique miniature figure for a hobby, our team will provide you with the same excellent design and manufacturing services we offer for SpaceX, BMW, and more. Contact us today or try out our online 3D print quote tool.