Designers may consider the use of 3D metal printing when possible and fits into the budget. 3D printing is particularly useful in prototype development or even small quantity production. Complex parts can be produced without the need for tooling. While the cost of 3D-printed metal is high at present, the prices are bound to come down in due course. The 3D printing process is bound to make many convention manufacturing methods obsolete.
Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) are two metal additive manufacturing processes that belong to the powder bed fusion 3D printing family. SLM produces parts from a single metal, while DMLS produces parts from metal alloys. Both SLM and DMLS are used in industrial applications to create end-use engineering products.