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DMLS in Aluminum, Inconel or Titanium – Is it worth it?

3D Printed Parts with Specialty Metals

Machining parts with specialty metals using conventional methods leads to inevitable material waste. Many titanium aerospace components are machined from solid stock, often cutting away 90% or more of the original material. New manufacturing techniques allow Fathom to provide you with metal parts minus the material loss. Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) is an additive manufacturing technology that can print fully dense, ready-to-use parts in titanium, aluminum, and Inconel. Additive manufacturing technology like DMLS drastically reduces the time requirement and material waste associated with conventional machining.

DMLS Titanium Parts

Building titanium parts with DMLS can speed production significantly while eliminating scrap. Machining titanium parts with conventional methods will always produce waste material. Investment casting of titanium is difficult and often has a high scrap rate as well. The aerospace industry relies on titanium parts due to their strength, low weight, and high mechanical properties. The same characteristics that make titanium ideal for aerospace applications also make it difficult to machine. It is a very hard metal and has low heat conductivity, which will reduce machining speeds and tool life. Conventionally machined titanium also requires an immense amount of liquid cooling. This can limit design possibilities and the productivity of certain shapes, especially those that require thin walls. DMLS titanium parts retain the beneficial properties of the metal and the process involves no tool-wear or coolant costs. DMLS is capable of producing titanium parts with almost any geometry, including thin walls, overhangs, and internal structuring. 

Titanium Cost

The greatest benefit of DMLS titanium parts is the reduction in titanium cost. Conventionally machined titanium parts start as a solid block. Cutting machines are used to remove material from the block to reveal the final part. Up to 90% of the original material can end up as waste on the cutting floor. DMLS is an additive manufacturing technology that uses only as much material as needed to complete the part – there is very little waste. Customers are no longer forced to pay for titanium they will never use. DMSL manufacturing can reduce titanium cost significantly.

Typical Applications //

  • Direct Manufacture of Functional Prototypes
  • Spare Part Replacement
  • Parts with High Mechanical Properties and Low Weight
  • Structural and Engine Components for Aerospace and Racing Applications

DMLS Aluminum Parts

Fathom uses EOS Aluminum AlSi10Mg for DMLS aluminum parts. AlSi10Mg is a master alloy aluminum powder and typical casting alloy with good casting properties especially for parts with thin walls and complex geometries. The alloy combination of silicon and magnesium provides a significant increase in strength and hardness. It also features good dynamic properties and is therefore used for parts subject to high loads.

DMLS parts made with EOS Aluminum AlSi10Mg can be machined, wire-eroded, electrical discharge machined, welded, micro-blasted, polished, and coated. The aluminum powder is completely melted during the build process resulting in a fully dense part. Any unexposed powder can be reused.

Typical Applications //

  • Direct Manufacture of Functional Prototypes
  • Spare Part Replacement
  • Parts With Good Thermal Properties and Low Weight

DMLS Printing with Inconel

Inconel is a nickel-based super alloy. This material is ideal for many high temperature applications such as gas turbine parts, instrumentation parts, and power and process industry parts. Inconel also possesses excellent cryogenic properties and potential for cryogenic applications.

Standard processing parameters use full melting of the entire geometry, typically with 20 µm layer thickness. Parts built from EOS Nickel Alloy IN718 can be easily post-hardened to 40-47 HRC (370-450 HB) by precipitation-hardening heat treatments. In both as-built and age hardened states the parts can be machined, spark-eroded, welded, micro-shot peened, polished, and coated. Unexposed powder can be reused.

Typical Applications //

  • Aerospace and Land-Based Turbine Engine Parts
  • Rocket and Space Application Components
  • Chemical and Process Industry Parts
  • Oil Well, Petroleum, and Natural Gas Industry Parts

Inconel vs. Titanium vs. Aluminum

There are a lot of different considerations when choosing what material to use for your next project. The two biggest factors will be end part use and project budget. Speak with the experts at Fathom to learn more about specific material qualities and what material would best be suited for your next project.  


DMLS 3D Printing Quote

Fathom can help take your additive manufacturing project from design to reality. We utilize a state-of-the-art on-demand online quoting platform that provides our customers with unlimited access to quotes and orders for prototyping and production parts. Our production team offers a wide range of material options to meet the needs of any project. Fathom also offers advanced and expedited services. Coupled with our additive manufacturing technologies, parts can be at your door in a matter of days. Fathom fulfills the manufacturing needs for companies of all sizes across all sectors, including medical and consumer products, electronics, and automotive and aerospace parts. Our client list includes nine of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies. Receive fast DMLS quotes and quick turnaround on parts through Fathom’s SmartQuote platform.

Manufacturing Locations Across National Time Zones
Manufacturing Locations Across National Time Zones
The Fathom Advanced Manufacturing Platform
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1050 Walnut Ridge Drive
Hartland, WI 53029
ISO 9001:2015


444 W. 21st St. Ste. 101
Tempe, AZ 85282
ISO 9001:2015
NIST800-171 Compliant


7770 Washington St.
Denver, CO 80229
ISO 9001:2015


13758 Johnson Street NE
Ham Lake, MN 55304


1801 Rowe Lane
Pflugerville, TX 78660
ISO 9001:2015

1513 Sam Bass Rd
Round Rock, TX 78681
ISO 9001:2015
ISO 13485:2016


46758 Lakeview Blvd,
Fremont, CA 94538
ISO 9001:2015 Design Certified
NIST 800-171 Compliant


14000 N.W. 58th Court
Miami Lakes, FL 33014


1920 Slaterville Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850

401 W. Shore Blvd.
Newark, NY 14513
ISO 9001:2015


1207 Adams Drive
McHenry, IL 60051
ISO 9001:2015

1401 Brummel Ave
Elk Grove, IL 60007
ISO 9001:2015 Design Certified

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