Selective Laser Melting (SLM), also called Laser Cusing, is a new development in powder metallurgy which works in a similar way to Laser Sintering. The main difference is that the metal particles are fully melted by the laser and can therefore be fused together leaving no gaps, resulting in a more dense, stronger material. One of the main benefits is that the metals uses do not have to be alloyed with lower-melting-point metals. The purity achieved through the process can open new possibilities of medical uses, like in the case of titanium surgical implants that need to meet strict standards of purity.
The advantages of additive manufacture compared to standard casting and milling processes are clear: one off parts can be produce more cost effectively and complex, organic shapes and structures can be achieved. These benefit are most evident when trying to build light weight, solid structures which mimic human bone, components for dental implants or parts for aerospace applications.
Do you have any experience or expertise in the field? Do you feel you can improve our content? Please leave a comment below.