Shrinkage tends to generate when loose metal powder melted in each processing layer along the direction of layer growing during selective laser melting process, resulting in an increased real layer thickness. The shrinkage model for layer shrinkage in SLM process is established. The variation of real layer thickness and the relevant mathematical explanations are discussed in this paper. The results show that the total shrinkage of metal powder layer sharply increases in the initial layers, and then reaches to a plateau value with the increased processing layers. This value is defined by the ratio of sliced layer thickness (h) to relative density (k) during selective laser melting process.