Proto Processes DMLS – Stainless Steel

Material Description

Stainless steel is a highly versatile and widely used engineering material known for its exceptional corrosion resistance and mechanical properties. It is primarily composed of iron, with at least 10.5% chromium content, which forms a protective passive oxide layer on the surface, preventing rust and corrosion. This alloy can also contain other elements like nickel, molybdenum, and titanium, further enhancing its durability and performance characteristics.

Stainless steel is categorized into several grades, each tailored to specific applications, offering a wide range of properties such as high-temperature resistance, exceptional strength, and superior hygienic qualities. Its durability and resistance to various environmental factors make it ideal for a diverse array of applications, including construction, automotive, aerospace, medical devices, and kitchenware. Additionally, its lustrous appearance and easy maintenance have contributed to its popularity in architectural and decorative applications. The unique combination of mechanical strength, corrosion resistance, and aesthetic appeal makes stainless steel a key material in numerous technical and industrial settings.

Common Industry Applications

DMLS-produced stainless steel is frequently used in aerospace for creating intricate, lightweight structural components, in the automotive industry for high-performance parts, and in the medical field for precision surgical instruments.


3D Printing – Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

Strength (MPa)
Coefficient of Thermal
Expansion (micro m/m-deg)
Electrical Resistivity
(micro Ohm-cm)
8000200-700 200-500150 - 320 ~16-25 16 70-80

Design Recommendation

When 3D printing stainless steel using DMLS, it is crucial to optimize the design for heat dissipation and reduce the risk of warping. Utilizing lattice structures for interior components can enhance overall part strength while reducing material usage, and incorporating support structures for overhangs and intricate geometries is essential to ensure successful printing and easy post-processing. Additionally, considering post-print treatments like stress relief or surface finishing can further improve the mechanical properties and corrosion resistance of the final stainless steel part.

Cost Saving Tip

When 3D printing stainless steel using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), cost-saving tips include optimizing part orientation to minimize support structures, reducing material waste by nesting multiple components in a single build, and selecting the appropriate layer thickness to balance print speed and cost. Additionally, ensuring a well-maintained printer and utilizing recycled or reclaimed stainless steel powder can further reduce expenses.