As one of the 3D printing technologies, Metal 3D printing is aslo widely used in Rapid prototyping industry. but how dose metal 3D printing work? today , in this blog, we will share something about metal 3D printing technology to help you understand.

What is metal 3D printing?

Metal 3D printing is a manufacturing process that use laser to weld thin layers of metal powder to create metal parts. Same as the other 3D printing technologies, it can create complex metal parts quickly.

Types of Metal 3D Printing

Metal powder bed fusion

Common processes: DMLS (direct metal laser sintering), SLM (selective laser melting) and EBM (electron beam melting).

Direct metal laser sintering uses a laser to slowly and steadily pass through metal powders, sintering these metal powders without being heated to a completely molten state, thereby printing a cross-section of the object at a time. This printing method can be used to build parts from almost any metal alloy.

Selective Laser Melting Uses a high-power laser to completely melt each layer of metal powder, not just sinter it, so the printed parts are very dense and strong. Currently, this process can only be used on certain metals.

Electron Beam Melting is Very similar to selective laser melting, it can produce dense metal structures. The difference between the two technologies is that EBM uses an electron beam rather than a laser to melt metal powder.

Metal Binder Jetting

Common processes: MJF (multi-jet fusion), NPJ (nanoparticle jet)

Metal Binder Jetting uses inkjet to selectively drop a binder onto a flat powder bed. The area that received the droplet will be solidified, leaving the rest of the powder loose. Repeat the above steps layer by layer until the entire part is generated. Materials such as metal, sand, ceramics and more can be processed using this process, it is a popular choice for low-volume production and on-demand manufacturing.

Direct Energy Deposition

Common processes: DED (direct metal deposition), WAAM (arc additive manufacturing), LMD (laser material deposition)

Direct Energy Deposition works by squeezing metal powder or wire, and then immediately hitting it with high energy. The energy melts the metal, and the molten pool immediately drops into 3D space. It is very similar to welding process, so one of the main applications is repairing existing metal parts and increasing the functionality of the part.

Metal Material Extrusion

Common processes: FDM (fused deposition modeling), FFF (fused filament manufacturing)

Metal material extrusion is to 3D print polymer filaments or wires impregnated with small metal particles layer by layer according to the designed shape. Clean the 3D printed parts and remove some of the adhesive. The parts are placed in a sintering furnace where the metal particles melt into solid metal.

Advantages of metal 3D printing:

  • High Precision: Metal 3D printing technology can produce complex metal parts with high precision and meet the precision requirements of various industries.
  • Efficiency: metal 3D printing technology can reduce manufacturing time and the steps in the production line.
  • Cost-Effective: Compare to traditional manufacturing processes, metal 3D printing increase production efficiency so that reduce the cost of parts.

Common 3D Printing Metal Materials

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is the most popular materials today in various industries, because stainless steel has very high strength and excellent corrosion resistance. 3D printing stainless steel is good for those parts that need to have high quality surface .


Aluminum is also a popular material in 3D printing industry becasue it is light weight. 3D printing aluminum is good for big parts creation.


Titanium metal is widely used in the medical and high-end aerospace industry becasue it has low weight and good chemical stability. the 3D printed Titanium parts are used a lot in these industries.

Nickel alloy

Nickel alloys are widely used in the military, aerospace, aviation and energy industries because of their excellent corrosion resistance and wear resistance. and more, 3D printed Nickel alloy parts can reduce the cost of manufacturing.

Applications of Metal 3D Printing

Manufacturing Industry

Metal 3D printing technology can be used for producing automotive components, rapid tooling, aircraft parts and various mechanical parts such as gears, reducers and bearings.

Medical industry

Metal 3D printing technology can be used for making prosthetics, dental prostheses and implants. Metal 3D printing can custom special parts for different patients with a low cost.

Aerospace Industry

In aerospace industry , metal 3D printing can be used for manufacturing complex structural components such as fuel nozzles, turbine blades and more.

Construction Industry

In construction industry, Metal 3D printing is used for making components such as doors, windows and more. metal 3D printing custom parts according to customer’s requirements and reduce production lead time.


Metal 3D printing will be more and more popular in future due to its high flexibility. At Kulsa, we can manage different technologies to meet your special requirements of your products , contact us today to get a instant quote.

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