Laser machine tools can help speed product development cycles for a range of materials.
As product lifecycles shrink, there is increasing pressure on research and engineering personnel to speed the new product development cycle. A variety of technologies, from traditional CNC machining to waterjets and 3D printing, are now widely employed to enable the quick creation of 3D prototype parts directly from computer-aided design (CAD) files.
Laser machine tools are becoming another important tool in this arsenal, as they can process a wide variety of materials with high precision, repeatability, and speed, and are also relatively inexpensive to operate. Otherlab, San Francisco, is a small research and development firm that specializes in creating prototype solutions to problems that are computationally complex. One of the fabrication techniques they employ is a laser-based machine tool.