Laser-directed fabrication of full-density metal articles using hot isostatic processing
" A method of fabricating a fully-dense three-dimensional metal article is disclosed. According to a first embodiment of the invention, the interior portion of the article is formed by way of selective laser sintering, in a cross-section of a layer of powder. After formation of the layer of powder, the laser is directed to form a gas-impervious skin around the interior portion of the article in that layer. The process is repeated, until the article is completed. The article surrounded by the skin is then subjected to hot isostatic pressing to densify the article; the skin, which serves as the ""can"" for the hot isostatic pressing, may or may not be removed from the article, as desired. According to a second embodiment of the invention, the can is formed first by way of laser generation, and is then filled with the metal powder, prior to hot isostatic pressing. "