Saturday, January 23, 2010

Laminated Object Manufacturing

Michael Feygin, the inventor of Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM) first heard of RP in 1984 when he came across a article in a magazine about lasers been used to make models. Trying to imagine how this technology would work led him to using paper as a demonstration. From this LOM was invented. Over the next three years the process was developed with funding from the Department of Energy, Illinois. In 1985 Helisys was founded and released they’re first machine, the LOM-1015 in 1990.

LOM applications are sometimes limited due to the fact that models are made from paper and glue. However they have many applications such as visualisation patterns for sand & investment casting, moulds for vacuum forming, aerodynamic, analysis of bio-medical research, etc. LOM models generally can’t be used for physical testing or any sort of application involving heat.

The traditional LOM machines work by lying down a sheet of paper or plastic laminated to a previously laid layer and bonded the layers using a hot roller. The roller applies heat and pressure causing the adhesive on the sheet to activate and stick the layers together. A CO2 laser is then used to cut out the shape of that layer. Around the object the unused material is diced by the laser in a crosshatch pattern causing small pieces called “tiles” — this allows for easy removal. This unused material is used as support.

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