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Laser deposition
#1
This process is diiferent from powder bed in that the powder used is much larger, so it overcomes some of the safety issues in powder bed. However it limits what can be made in that you can't build up support structures for example.

The technology uses lasers to melt the powder at a nozzle which deposits it on the substrate material bonding the two together, a bit like using a welding torch.

On the Mazak machines which have this technology, that are 5 axis, you can turn the part so that the material added is at the top, so it is ideal for repair of parts or adding a different harder material on a softer substrate. There are plenty of aerospace and mould repair applications where this technology is a good solution.

The finish is relatively rough, so will need finish machining to get to the finished shape and surface finish. With hybrid technology, this can all be done in one operation.
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#2
Optomec has just announced a laser deposition machine for aluminium powders. The process gives 99.9% density and can deposit a wide range of different alloys.

The interesting application here is the use of this technology in aerospace to repair complex aluminium structures and panels, which would normally be scrapped, enabling the life of these parts to be extended, thus saving costs. Probably fine for parts which are not safety critical at this stage. - read the full article here

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