LENS systems uses a high-power laser (500W to 4kW) to fuse powdered metals into fully dense three-dimensional structures. The LENS 3D printer uses the geometric information contained in a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) solid model to automatically drive the LENS process as it builds up a component layer by layer. Additional software and closed-loop process controls ensure the geometric and mechanical integrity of the completed part.
The LENS process is housed in a hermetically-sealed chamber which is purged with argon so that the oxygen and moisture levels stay below 10 parts per million. This keeps the part clean, preventing oxidation. The metal powder feedstock is delivered to the material deposition head by Optomec’s proprietary powder-feed system, which is able to precisely regulate mass flow. Once a single layer has been deposited, the material deposition head moves on to the next layer. By building up successive layers, the whole part is constructed. When complete, the component is removed and can be heat-treated, Hot-Isostatic-Pressed, machined, or finished in any customary manner.