LLNL’s Diode-Based Additive Manufacturing Technology 3D Prints Metal Parts Faster Than Ever

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory delivers amazing research, often related to 3D printing, on a regular basis, so it’s never surprising when they announce something big. This week, however, LLNL researchers have made an announcement that could change the 3D printing industry – they’ve developed a new metal 3D printing technology that can print objects faster than ever before.

The technology is called diode-based additive manufacturing, or DiAM, and it was originally developed to smooth and pattern laser beams at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). It uses high-powered arrays of laser diodes and a specialized laser modulator to flash print an entire layer of metal powder at a time, instead of raster scanning with a single laser after each layer as SLM and SLS 3D printers do. This means that large metal objects could potentially be 3D printed significantly faster than with current processes, and with much more design flexibility.

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