As compared to the European metals research activities, the Japanese research activity is almost nonexistent. The one exception is the significant research of Professor Takeo Nakagawa of Tokyo University's Institute of Industrial Science. Professor Nakagawa's work started very early (Nakagawa 1979). By laser-cutting sheet metal and laminating the laser-cut sheets, Nakagawa is able to create three-dimensional metal structures. This concept was first experimentally applied for the production of blanking tools and later utilized for forming tools. Recently, it has been applied to rapid prototyping of metal parts. Fig. 6.15 shows a laminated punch tool and the resultant part. In 1985, Nakagawa et al. created injection molds with exotic cooling channels.
Fig. 6.15. Laminated tool created by Nakagawa.