What is 3D Metal Printing?

3D Metal Printing Find Providers For 3D Metal

Some printers can make quality, strong metal parts at reasonable prices.
Other Technologies: 

Like SLA, SLS systems can produce complex structures uses laser technology. However, the materials are very different.

How It Works
Selective Laser Sintering is an additive manufacturing process. The machine builds up layer upon layer of the 3D model, starting with the bottom layer. After some hours have passed, the model is finished.

The material used is a one-part or two-part powder, which can be a metal, plastic, ceramic, or glass. The build tray sits inside a vat of the powder and a laser system aims at specific points on the tray to fuse together the appropriate sections for each layer. The particles are either fully melted or only partially melted to fuse together and to the previous layer. After each layer is finished, the tray drops so that the machine can begin the next layer.

No Support Needed
One great benefit of SLS is that is does not require support structures to support overhanging features during printing. This is because the bed of powder supports the model at all times. Most 3D printing processes require some form of support material, which adds to the cost and cleanup time.

Typical Uses
  • Rapid Prototypes
  • Production Parts
  • Art
Costs
Example quotes for a 2-inch sphere:
Process Qty 1 Qty 10
SLA $376 each $109 each
SLS $501 each $121 each
FDM $182 each $154 each
PolyJet $479 each $139 each
3D Metal $566 each $566 each
Machined Plastic $458 each $139 each
Urethane Castings N/A $120 each
So, you can see how volume discounts can be a big factor, especially for processes that are slow in the vertical direction.

For More Information
Wikipedia article

See the Next Article: Urethane Castings

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News Headlines

3D Printers to Get Cheaper in 2014
Jul 23, 2013 - There are some major 3D printing patents, set to expire in 2014, that have the potential to dramatically increase quality and decrease costs in the industry.
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Read more on TechCrunch.com.
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