More Power! The Art of Welding With a Handheld Laser Torch
- Created on Thursday, 20 February 2014
Developed at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to repair hard-to-reach Space Shuttle engine nozzles, the handheld laser torch is designed for welding and brazing metals. It incorporates various manual controls and changeable lenses to allow the operator to adjust the laser’s power output in real time. The controls and lenses are designed to increase precision, portability, and maneuverability as compared to existing automated lasers and traditional welding techniques such as tungsten inert gas (TIG), metal inert gas (MIG). or gas-tungsten arc welding (GTAW) systems.
Once used exclusively for the space program, handheld laser torches now have numerous commercial applications from aerospace engine repair to medical hardware manufacturing; from plastic mold and die restoration to jewelry manufacturing and repair to eyeglass frame welding.
Paul R. Gradl
Marshall Space Flight Center