The 3D metal printing processes are key technologies for the new industry manufacturing requirements, as small lot production associated with high design complexity and high flexibility are needed towards personalization and customization. The main challenges for these processes are associated to increasing printing volumes, maintaining the relative accuracy level and reducing the global manufacturing time. Through a review on current technologies and solutions proposed by global patents new design solutions for 3D metal printing machines can be suggested. This paper picks up current technologies and trends in SLM and suggests some design approaches to overcome these challenges. As the SLM process is based on laser scanning, an increase in printing volume requires moving the scanner over the work surface by motion systems if printing accuracy has to be kept constant. This approach however does not contribute to a reduction in manufacturing time, as only one laser source will be responsible for building the entire work piece. With given technology limits in galvo based laser scanning systems, the most obvious solution consists in using multiple beam delivery systems in series, in parallel or both. Another concern is related to the weight of large work pieces. A new powder recoater can control the layer thickness and uniformity and eliminate or diminish fumes. To improve global accuracy, the use of a pair of high frequency piezoelectric actuators can help in positioning the laser beam. The implementation of such suggestions can contribute to SLM productivity. To do this, several research activities need to be accomplished in areas related to design, control, software and process fundamentals.