Production of Metal Protoypes Using a High Powered Laser Machining Centre
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The established commercially available rapid prototyping techniques are now well known throughout the manufacturing community. They are able to produce high quality, accurate prototypes, but are limited largely to processing polymer, wax or paper materials. Where a metal part is required, then a further process step, such as investment casting using the prototype part as a pattern is required. As a further point most of the above systems are high capital cost dedicated pieces of equipment. This paper describes the use of laser machining centres as rapid prototyping tools in the areas of, laminated prototyping, using both paper and metal, and laser forming.