Diode area melting (DAM) is a novel additive manufacturing process that utilises customised architectural arrays of low power laser diode emitters for high speed parallel processing of metallic powdered feedstock. The laser diodes operate at shorter laser wavelengths (808 nm) than conventional SLM fibre lasers (1064 nm) theoretically enabling more efficient energy absorption for specific materials. This investigation presents a parametric analysis of the DAM process, identifying the effect of powder characteristics, laser beam profile, laser power and scan speed on the porosity of a single-layer sample. Also presented is the effect of process energy density on melt pool depth (irradiated thermal energy penetration capable of achieving melting) on 316L stainless steel powder. An analysis of the density and the melt depth fraction of single layers is presented in order to identify the conditions that lead to the fabrication of fully dense DAM parts. Energy densities in excess of 86 J/mm3 were theorised as sufficient to enable processing of fully dense layers.