Laminated Object Manufacturing

Machine LOM 2030E
Manufacturer Helisys (Cubic Technologies)
Material Paper
Mechanism CO2 Laser, Heated Roller
Build Volume 20" x 30" x 20"
Applications Produces large prototypes for visualization and assembly testing.

lom process

A manufacturing process that uses a carbon-dioxide laser to create successive cross-sections of a three-dimensional object from layers of paper with a polyethylene coating on the backside. The first step is to create a base on which the paper can attach itself to. This is done by placing a special tape down onto the platform. A sheet of paper is fed through with the aid of small rollers. As the paper is fed through, a heated roller is used to melt the coating on the paper so that each new layer will adhere to the previous layer.

The carbon-dioxide laser then cuts the outline of the cross-sectional pattern into the top layer of paper. Once the laser is done cutting the pattern, it creates a border around the build that contains the desired part. This enables the part to stay intact as each new layer is created. Once the border has been cut, the laser then proceeds to create hatch marks, or cubes that surround the pattern within the border. The cubes behave as supports for the part to ensure that no shifting or movement takes place during the entire build.

When the build is completed, the part, attached to the platform, needs to be removed from the LOM. Depending on the size of the part, the block to be removed may take more than one person to remove the build from the LOM. After the part has been successfully removed from the LOM, it must then be removed for the actual platform. Again this may take the work of more than one individual. A wire is used and placed between the part and the platform to "cut" the part away from the metal platform.

The border, or frame of the part is then removed. The next step involves decubing. or removing the supports. Often times the supports can be removed from simple shaking the part; other times it is necessary to use a chisel to pry the cubes away from the part. When all of the cubes have been removed, the unfinished part is sanded down and a lacquer is used to seal the part. Being that LOM parts are made for paper, humidity and temperature affect the structure and composure of the part if it is not coated; hence, the lacquer serves as a protective measure. The LOM is very useful in manufacturing large parts quickly.