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Title: Laser forming for designed metalwork practice
Authors: Silve, S
Keywords: Design and innovation processes; form generation; interdisciplinary; technologies and processes of construction; crafts
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: Design Research Society
Citation: Proceedings of The Design Research Society’s ‘Wonderground’ Conference. Lisbon, 2006.
Abstract: Laser forming is a rapid-prototyping technique that directly shapes metal sheet, tubes and spinnings. The process involves the work piece being moved beneath a laser beam; this is typically automated via CNC or a CAD/CAM system. Laser forming is a thermo-mechanical process whereby the localised laser heat input induces compressive stresses within the material causing it to bend. There are three bending mechanisms; the process is capable of bending material in either direction and can also shorten metal through its thickness to create shapes through a loss of surface area. Laser bending has undergone research worldwide for 25 years, with prospective applications in the aerospace and electronics industries. Two-dimensional bending is well understood, however the essence of three-dimensional laser forming is the intrinsic link between the laser path and resulting form. This paper presents the findings of experimental research into the potential of laser forming for creating designed metalwork objects. It explores the effects of path geometries on the resulting form and puts forward methods for working with the process. On concluding that the technique is suitable for one-offs, a reflective discussion takes place with regard to the suitability for batch production, use of materials, and the integration with current craft practice.
ISBN: 972-98701-6-0
Appears in Collections:Design
Dept of Design Research Papers

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