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Mechanical & Materials Engineering

Manufacturing and Dynamic Systems Group

Rapid Laminated Tooling Laboratory

The Rapid Laminated Tooling Laboratory operates under the direction of Professor Gene Zak. Past work included development of a novel Layered Manufacturing process for the production of functional parts from laminations of thin aluminum sheet. However, the lab facilities can be employed for a wide variety of laser-based manufacturing processes: laser cutting of fine patterns, laser grooving, surface modification, drilling, welding.

Facilities:

  • GSI Lumonics Sigma 400 Nd:YLF diode-pumped laser (7 W) can produce very short pulses (about 100 ns) at high frequency (up to 20 KHz) with the light output in near infrared (1.05 m m). It uses solid state diodes (instead of the more common xenon flash lamps) for activation of the lasing medium. This high pulse frequency enables fast cutting speeds and produces smooth cut edges. As an active medium, the laser uses YLF (Yttrium - Lithium - Flourine) rod energized by laser diodes. Laser diodes are efficient and have a long operating life - both factors a significant benefit when used in a manufacturing process. Efficient pumping operation minimizes thermal loading on the laser rod producing exceptionally stable TEM00 mode quality. Good beam stability and pulse-to-pulse repeatability allow for precise control of energy delivered to the workpiece surface.
  • Precision X-Y-Z translation system, with X-Y motion achieved by two linear motor stages capable of speeds up to 2 m/s and with a work envelope of 450 by 300 by 150 mm.

Projects:

The following projects have been completed:

  • Controlled depth cutting of aluminum sheet
  • Heat-activated adhesive bonding of aluminum sheet