- a powder reservoir, filled with feedstock powder and positioned using fine vertical steps;
- an overflow reservoir, used to recover the redundant powder once a layer has been spread;
- a recoating/spreading system, used to cover each scanned layer with a new coat of powder. Various types of recoating blades exit. They are made of rubber, steel, fibre bush or ceramic;
- a building chamber, where the component is fabricated layer by layer. The building platform eases down after each layer is scanned;
- a laser source and its scan head, used for complex motion control and selective melting;
- a filtering system set up with inert gas, used to keep the building chamber under inert atmosphere and to suck up process fumes or spatter during machining.
High resolution: material is processed with a fine laser beam, point-by-point and one layer at a time.
Hierarchical complexity: resolution varies with machine capabilities, yet fabricating fines features means that complex hierarchical multi-scale structures can be designed and fabricated in one step with features size spanning the macro- and meso-scale (0.1-10 mm). For instance, lattices can be combined with macrostructures to vary mechanical properties and/or save weight.
Functional complexity: Geometrical flexibility makes it possible to integrate multiple functions in a single component traditionally made out of multiple parts.
Feedstock fluidity and re-usability: In DMLM, unused powder remains fluid and can easy be removed and recycled. Arguably, there still is some confusion about the impact of powder recycling on mechanical properties. Yet, it is a major advantage for parts that require inaccessible internal channels.