proto labs logoThere is so much going on in the world of 3D printing that it can be hard to keep up. At 3DPrint.com, our job is to keep our readers well-informed about the entire industry in all its breadth and variety, and this year we’ve been thrilled to introduce a series of webinars to give you a personal, in-depth look at specific areas of 3D printing. We’ve partnered with some of the leading experts in the industry to teach you more about 3D imaging in the apparel industry, as well as the intricacies of some of the most commonly used consumer 3D printing technologies. For our third webinar, we’re pleased to partner with manufacturing solutions provider Proto Labs for a look at metal 3D printing – specifically, Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS).

Fast-growing Proto Labs is having a great year, as evidenced by their recently released second quarter financial results. Started as an injection molding company in 1999, Proto Labs began offering industrial 3D printing services in 2014, with DMLS as one of their first options. One of the most commonly used metal additive manufacturing technologies, DMLS has been responsible for some of the biggest breakthroughs in industries like aerospace, medicine, dental and even jewelry. On September 27 at 1PM Central Time, Proto Labs will present, and 3DPrint.com will host, a free webinar entitled “Designing for 3D Printing: Direct Metal Laser Sintering” to give you a closer look at this revolutionary technology.

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The appeal of DMLS is multifaceted. It introduced brand new possibilities into manufacturing, allowing industries to “manufacture the unmanufacturable,” as Proto Labs puts it. The technology, which uses a laser to “draw” on a bed of metal powder and sinter it, layer by layer, into any desired configuration, is capable of creating parts with complex shapes and intricate features such as internal channels. Because it can print large and/or complicated parts in one piece, whereas other manufacturing technologies require multiple parts to be produced separately and then assembled, it greatly reduces production time and cost and results components much more lightweight than their conventionally manufactured counterparts.

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David Bentley

The webinar will be presented by David Bentley, DMLS production manager and process engineer at Proto Labs’ Raleigh, North Carolina 3D printing facility. Bentley, who has a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University, is an expert on industrial 3D printing, with more than 11 years of experience in the additive manufacturing industry. According to Proto Labs, the webinar will go into detail on several aspects of DMLS, including:

  • How to design for DMLS, including surface finish and resolution considerations, internal features, stresses, and support requirements
  • How to manufacture the unmanufacturable such as internal geometry for conformal cooling channels
  • How 3D printing allows you to reduce the number of components in an assembly (BOM) by joining components
  • How parts are built on a support structure and its impact

DMLS-support-structuresEven for someone moderately familiar with 3D printing, the technology – especially on the industrial level – can still be baffling. In the hour-long webinar, you’ll learn exactly how DMLS works, and see how the various printer parts and processes work together to create those large, complicated parts. You’ll learn about the different types of metal used in DMLS, including aluminum, stainless steel, cobalt chrome, titanium and Inconel. You’ll see a case study from Proto Labs, and see how DMLS compares to injection molding or CNC machining the same parts.

Proto Labs will also touch on the services they offer, which include the production of both prototypes and end-use parts using Concept Laser’s Mlab and M2 machines. You can check out their DMLS services in more detail here. Registration is now open for the webinar; it’s free to sign up, so register now. We look forward to seeing you on the 27th! Discuss your thoughts on the upcoming topic in the Designing for 3D Printing Webinar forum over at 3DPB.com.

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