3D Printing ProcessesAM ResearchMetal Additive ManufacturingProduct Launch

Diode Area Melting (DAM) Technology Developed to Speed Up Metal 3D Printing

Stay up to date with everything that is happening in the wonderful world of AM via our LinkedIn community.

UK researchers have developed a new additive manufacturing process known as Diode Area Melting (DAM). This new approach to metal 3D printing which could lead to much faster production rates. Their work supported by funding from an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) allocated impact acceleration grant (IIKE), and conducted primarily at the University of Sheffield, was published in the Science Direct Journal.

The published paper details the development of the new DAM additive manufacturing process which utilizes customized architectural arrays of low power laser diode emitters for high speed parallel processing of metallic feedstock. Individually addressable diode emitters are used to selectively melt feedstock from a pre-laid powder bed. The laser diodes operate at shorter laser wavelengths (808 nm) than conventional SLM fibre lasers (1064 nm) theoretically enabling more efficient energy absorption for specific materials. The melting capabilities of the DAM process were tested for low melting point eutectic BiZn2.7 elemental powders and higher temperature pre-alloyed 17-4 stainless steel powder. The process was shown to be capable of fabricating controllable geometric features with evidence of complete melting and fusion between multiple powder layers.

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is viewed as a disruptive, viable alternative to conventional manufacturing processes, capable of creating geometrically efficient structures with low material wastage. Laser based Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and electron based Electron Beam Melting (EBM) AM systems are increasingly being used in high value sectors to directly manufacture metallic end-use parts from a variety of alloys. During processing, the melting source (deflected laser/electron beam) selectively scans and melts regions of a pre-deposited powder bed. Cross-sections of the part are fused in layers, built up successively to create the complete 3D object. The method of layered fabrication, combined with the high precision of laser melting allows for a greatly expanded design freedom with minimal feedstock waste.

The Diode Area Melting (DAM) method replaces the deflected fibre laser used within SLM with multiple emitters co-located within a customised DL bar. Diode Lasers (DLs) are some of the most efficient devices in converting electrical into optical energy, working at wall plug efficiencies up to 50–80%. The ability to tune the emission wavelength of DLs through choice of semiconductor active material allows DLs to be designed or selected to match the peak absorption wavelength of the powder material being irradiated.

The DAM process is highly scalable for the melting of larger areas in a single pass. DL bars consume a relatively small space and can be stacked easily to either cover a larger melting area or to superimpose laser beams such that the energy density per laser beam spot is increased. The scientists conclude that the current limitations of AM of metals systems (i.e. high purchase costs, high energy consumption and slow production time) may be overcome through the adoption of a diode laser module melting source. Previously, the use of low power diode bars for melting common SLM materials would be easily dismissed as being unable to provide the required energy density to melt these materials. This work has shown that this energy density challenge can be overcome and presents a first step in developing a novel and efficient high speed metallic additive manufacturing process.

Composites AM 2024

746 composites AM companies individually surveyed and studied. Core composites AM market generated over $785 million in 2023. Market expected to grow to $7.8 billion by 2033 at 25.8% CAGR. This new...


VoxelMatters is the online trade media portal published by 3dpbm, a leading marketing and market research firm specializing in the AM industry. 3dpbm also publishes the 3D Printing Business Directory, the AM Focus eBook series and the 3dpbm Research AM Market Reports. 3D Printing Media Network was founded with the goal to provide the latest industry news, insights and opinions to a global audience of professionals and decision makers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close Popup
Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

Technical Cookies
In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

Decline all Services
Accept all Services


Join our 12,000+ Professional community and get weekly AM industry insights straight to your inbox. Our editor-curated newsletter equips executives, engineers, and end-users with crucial updates, helping you stay ahead.