Rapid metal prototyping
Optomec in Albuquerque has commercialized the laser-engineered net-shaping (LENS) process. LENS systems use a laser focused on a metal substrate to create a localized melt pool into which powdered metal is injected. Rapid cooling solidifies the deposit while the part is rastered back and forth according to a 3D CAD pattern. Features as small as 0.030 inches are possible. Considered by some the holy grail of additive manufacturing technologies (aka rapid prototyping), Direct metal manufacturing (DMM) capabilities are now within reach.
Source: deskeng.comAdded: 8 June 2006