Video: What is SLM 3D Printing?

Today we’re here at Multistation to discuss the SLM manufacturing process.

Let’s break it down. First, it’s an acronym. SLM means, ‘Selective Laser Melting.’

How does SLM 3D Printing work?

Basically, it’s an additive manufacturing process, or more generally, 3D printing. This process allows you to make parts in a cube, picture a cube. This cube has a powder container on one side and an empty one on the other. Notice the device above is actually a laser. This gradually transforms material, following instructions from a computer. Try to picture that in a short timeframe, it adds a thin layer of metal on a plate. The laser forms the different shapes and fuses the metallic powder.

What are the advantages and limitations of SLM 3D Printing?

Then we apply a second layer. The part is built layer after layer in the powder container. My powder container has this very part, built layer after layer. This is the basic idea behind additive manufacturing. You’re essentially adding layers of material. See how this part is placed on a stand, on a plate? Think of when you bake a chocolate cake and put it in the oven. There are multiple stages. First, we remove all the powder covering the part. Second, we release the part from the plate.

What are the usages in the industry of SLM 3D Printing?

Now, your next question is why deploy SLM? Reason #1: you can build complex, strong, custom-made parts.#2: it’s relatively mature and available worldwide. As for drawbacks, it’s expensive compared to other 3D printing processes. You’ll also need manufacturing substrate to support the part during production. Without these substrates, you’re looking at extra post-production time, so, more human effort and related costs. SLM is mostly used in the medical industry for implants.

It’s also used in aerospace sector which uses lightweight parts to boost performance. And then there’s space sector, where it’s used to transition to making parts with special characteristics and lastly, the fast-growing segment of luxury which uses SLM to craft exceptional pieces.


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