In Pictures: 3D printing - How does it really work?

Here are the nine most common 3D printer technologies

Technology No. 7: SLM What it is: Selective laser melting

Inventors: Dr. Dieter Schwarze and Dr. Matthias Fockele of F&S Stereolithographietechnik GmbH; and ILT researchers Dr. Wilhelm Meiners and Dr. Konrad Wissenbach

Year: 1995

Materials: Stainless steel, tool steel, cobalt chrome, titanium, aluminum in atomized form

Process: A high-powered fiber laser beam fuses fine metallic powders together to create three-dimensional metal parts. Although known as laser sintering, this SLM process actually fully melts the metal into a solid homogeneous mass, which is more similar to Electron Beam Melting (EBM), which uses an electron beam as the energy source. Trade names include DMLS and LaserCusing.

Price Range: up to $500,000

Systems Sold by: ReaLizer, Renishaw

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