SLM - Selective Layer Melting

Precision Additive Manufacturing with Metals

 

SLM describes a process of building a part in 3 dimensions by creating a fused stack of 2 dimensional slices (profiles). The process is as follows:

  • A solid CAD model of the part is analysed by special additive manufacturing software that slices the model into many 2 dimensional profiles (x,y) perpendicular to the build-direction (z).
  • The SLM machine begins by coating the bed with a fine layer of powder. 
  • The first profile (at the lowest point on the model, i.e. z=0) is traced by a scanning layer, thereby melting and fusing the powder to the bed.
  • The bed drops down (-z direction) and a second layer of powder is then spread over the bed and the part.
  • The second layer is then traced by the laser, fusing the powder to the part below.
  • This process is repeated for all profiles provided by the additive manufacturing software until the part is complete.
  • The bed is then finally raised, excess powder brushed or vacuumed away and the part and bed are removed. The part is then liberated from the bed and any part finishing is performed.

 

A finished part made with the SLM process

SLM laser creating a 2D profile of the part

in the powder bed

A finished part made with the SLM process