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Selective laser melting (SLM) article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Selective laser melting (SLM)

Heat is generated using a focused heat source, normally a laser, sufficient to melt a thin layer of powder applied to the surface of a substrate. Material is added layer by layer by lowering the build by a small amount and spreading a thin layer of powder over the surface. To create the desired geometry, the heat source is traversed over the powder bed, locally melting small regions to form successive layers. The layers eventually build up to form the solid structure. Material addition in SLM is very stable. Unlike powder feed systems, unmelted material is not lost and can generally be reused. Furthermore, because the layer height is defined by the amount the build chamber is lowered, the layers can be very small, resulting in very fine feature resolution.

Article
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: The Open University
Fused deposition modelling (FDM) article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Fused deposition modelling (FDM)

Thermoplastics are heated to above their glass transition temperature and extruded onto a substrate to produce a raised track or filament. The desired geometry is created by manipulating the extrusion nozzle using a computer-controlled positioning system. Three-dimensional structures can be formed by adding material onto previously deposited material.

Article
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: The Open University
Direct metal deposition (DMD) article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Direct metal deposition (DMD)

Heat is generated using a focused heat source of various kinds, sufficient to melt the surface of the substrate and form a small melt pool. Material is added to the melt pool using a focused powder stream or a wire feed system to form a raised portion of material. To create the desired geometry, the substrate is manipulated using a computer-controlled positioning system. Gas and material are fed into the path of a heat source. Material feed angle can be altered to influence the build characteristics. A feed angle of 0° benefits design and manufacturing flexibility due to the onmidirectional scanning possibilities, but requires more complex apparatus to avoid interference with the laser.

Article
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: The Open University
3D printing article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

3D printing

Although often used as a blanket term for additive manufacturing, 3D printing is a technique where a print head is used to control the deposition of polymer on a substrate drop by drop.

Article