My last post was about the machining of our “low pressure” pistons. Our combustion pistons start out with a very different kind of fabrication process: Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). It is a kind of 3D printing. Believe it or not, finding a short, entertaining video about DMLS is difficult. So instead please enjoy the least annoying video about the process I could find:
Here is what the parts look like just after printing.
This had to be printed because there are some internal cooling passages inside of them that traditional machining cannot make. In mass production this is handled by making them in two parts and then friction-welding the two halves together. For just two prototypes, that is not economical, thus we went with DMLS. There is still a lot of machining and grinding to do before the pistons are done. Eventually, they will look like this: