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Laser Forming of Thin Metal Components for 2D and 3D Applications Using a High Beam Quality, Low Power Nd:YAG Laser and Rapid Scanning Optics

International Workshop on Thermal Forming, Bremen, April 13-14, 2005
Thermal Forming, F Vollertsen, T Seefeld [Eds] , Strahltechnik Volume 26,
BIAS Verlag, Bremen, 2005, ISBN: 3-933762-16-2
K. Bartkowiak, S. P. Edwardson, J. Borowski*, G. Dearden, K. G. Watkins
Laser Group, Department of Engineering, University of Liverpool, Brownlow Street.
Liverpool L69 3GH, UK
*Metal Forming Institute, ul. Jana Pawla II nr 14 , 61-139 Poznan, POLAND

Abstract: Laser forming (LF), as a novel application, appeared at the end of twenty century and is still a developing area in the laser engineering world. The main advantage of this non-contact forming method is that there is no ‘spring back’ effect. This brings industrial promise in a wide spectrum of applications, e.g. rapid prototyping, precision adjustment, removing distortion and creating 3D complex shapes. Indeed some laser formed 3D curvatures can not be achieved by conventional mechanical methods. Rapid laser forming can be accomplished using a laser marker system equipped with fast galvo-mirrors. In this case scan speed limitations can be overcome when compared to XY tables. Fast scanning optics can change the LF regime and expand development of forming thin section components. The work presented here shows opportunities to rapidly laser form thin section metal components using a Nd:YAG and rapid scanning optics. The results describe different methods of 2D laser bending with on-line displacement measured data and creating 3D shapes using various scan strategies. 3D contour plots were measured off-line by a diode laser range finder used in conjunction with high accuracy XY tables. Metallurgical analysis is also included in this paper..

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