Since laser welding is a low heat input process, it can be used to repair components that cannot tolerate distortion or dimensional changes during welding. Areas with missing material can be restored by filling the damaged area with the same base metal. Once the damage has been filled in, the excess metal that has been deposited by the laser welding process can be removed by machining or grinding. In addition to filling nicks, gouges, cracks, and holes, the same process can also be used to fill machined features such as groves,and engraved characters.
There are several advantages of this process over conventional welding. parts that have been permanantely connected to heat sensitive materials such as plastic or solder can be welded without reflow of adjacent materials. Components that are brazed to a ceramic, or contain a glass to metal seal can be repaiered without the risk of cracking the insulator.
The photograph below shows a damaged component made of an expensive alloy. The gouge on the major diameter has been filled and the excess material has been machined off.