All About Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM) 3D Printing

Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM) is an elegantly simple concept that builds prototypes out of cut sheet materials. Sheet materials are placed over the whole build table to selectively bond to the layer below and then cut, either with a laser or a traveling knife, to extract the 2D slice from the sheet. LOM originated with Helisys in 1991 and established a niche in the rapid manufacturing sector. Helisys was succeeded by Cubic Technologies.

LOM 3D printing made low-cost models that were easy to work with and surprisingly fast to build. It is limited in the scope of undercuts and shapes complexity, primarily by the difficulty of extracting the finished model from the waste material. It also requires thick walls (5 to 10 mm minimum) to produce models that offer any strength. Hollows and cavities were also difficult or impossible to clear waste, so models could be quite heavy for their size.

The primary parts of a LOM 3D printer are the build area, roller, and laser. This article will further discuss LOM 3D printing, how it works, its primary parts, the pros, and cons, as well as the materials used.

What is Laminated Object Manufacturing 3D Printing?

Laminated object manufacturing 3D printing is a versatile process that glues together layers of material (typically adhesive-coated plastic, metal, or paper) and cuts the layers to shape. The process results in a product that can be further processed either by machining or drilling.  LOM is typically used for rapid prototyping due to it being a fast and inexpensive additive manufacturing process. 

How Does Laminated Object Manufacturing 3D Printing Work?

Laminated object manufacturing works by layering sheet materials, which are cut in place by either a laser or a traveling knife. The 2D outline is then extracted as an outline of a slice before another layer is added. Sheets of materials are rolled out on a build platform and are coated with adhesive. The adhesive-bearing sheet is placed onto the build table, atop the laminate pile. Accurate positioning using relatively simple inkjet/photocopier paper-handling methods produces a rectilinear stack. The new laminate layer is then pressed into place with a hot roller to ensure good bonding and curing. Once the layer is cured, a scanning laser or traveling tungsten knife cuts the slice outline, leaving the waste material in place as support for the next laminate. Once all layers are applied and cut, the model is “extracted” from the waste manually, revealing a finished prototype.

What Are the Pros and Cons of LOM?

The pros and cons of LOM are shown in Table 1 below:

All About Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM) 3D Printing