Show/Hide Navigation

3d Metal Printing

We have extensive capabilities in 3D metal printing (also known as additive manufacturing) technology.  3D Metal printing utilizes lasers to melt thin layers of metal to one another in order to create a component.  This technology is useful in creating functional metallic prototype parts, legacy components, and creating novel geometries that would be difficult or impossible to create through conventional manufacturing processes.  We are also involved with R&D of new materials for use in additive manufacturing.  Examples of materials we can use in 3D printing include titanium, steel, aluminum, Inconel, and cobalt alloys.

3D metal printing encompasses several different types of technologies.  At our facility we have powder bed fusion (PBF) and direct energy deposition (DED) systems.  These types of systems are also known by other names, some of which are proprietary, including Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM), Selective Laser Melting (SLM), and Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS).


Powder Bed Fusion
Powder bed fusion technology utilizes a blade to move and deposit metal powder across the surface of a substrate. A laser is then used to melt the powder in accordance with the geometry of the layer of the part. This process is then repeated through the entire height of the part. At our facility we have two EOS M270 systems, an Extended Titanium system, and a Dual-mode system. We can build parts that fit into a volume of approximately 10”x10”x8” high within these systems.

We are currently constructing an open –architecture powder bed fusion system. More details on this can be found in the Process and Equipment Development Section.

Direct Energy Deposition

We have two customized systems that utilize direct energy deposition (also known as LENS-type technology). This type of additive manufacturing technology is useful for laser cladding, part repair, feature addition, and building complete parts. This technology utilizes powder feeders to blow powder through nozzles into a laser beam for deposition onto a substrate. Laser cladding is generally used to apply a wear-resistant material, such as nickel-tungsten carbide, to the surface of a component to enable a longer service life. DED can also be used to correct defects on accessible surfaces by depositing additional material in the location of the defect. Features can also be added to conventionally manufactured components that would otherwise be difficult or costly to incorporate. One of our systems has a controlled atmosphere that can be purged to 5ppm oxygen, which enable processing of reactive materials such as titanium. The system has a build volume of 12”x12”x10”. Our other system is exposed to ambient atmospheric conditions but uses an inert shield gas during processing. This system can accommodate large parts and has a usable build area of ~24”x24”x48”. We have a 1kW and 3kW Ytterbium fiber laser attached to these systems. We also have the capability of developing custom laser cells and tooling for customer projects that may require it. We can work with a variety of materials, some of which include steel, titanium, Inconel, aluminum, and nickel-WC alloys.

Photo of a DED Sandia

Photo of the DED 850



A National Resource and Center of Excellence

More Information

Capability Statement

Tri-Fold Brochure (PDF)