What is selective laser melting (SLM)? This innovative manufacturing process often reminds me of the “beamer” device in the TV series Star Trek: Information, given form, is translated into matter. A laser beam is applied to metal powder particles and welds them into three-dimensional structures, layer by layer. Guided by a CAD blueprint, the substance rapidly hardens into a complex part. Compared to the more established 3-D plastic printing process, the versatile raw materials used in SLM include a range of metal alloys. Often, SLM is grouped in the same category as laser sintering, although – in contrast to a sintering process – it fully melds the particles into a compact mass.