Layerwise Laser Melting (LLM) is a layerwise production technique enabling the production of complex metallic parts. In the process a thin layer of powder is first deposited on a base plate. With the energy of a scanning laser beam this layer is melted at selected places, according to a predefined scanning pattern. After scanning, a new layer of powder is deposited on top of the previous layer and selectively melted. This sequence of depositing and scanning is repeated until the complete part is built. The local geometry surrounding the melt pool has a large influence on the processing behavior. For process control issues, this influence must be known and quantified, in order to determine a priori optimal processing conditions and to interpret measured melt pool radiation. In order to study the melt pool behavior, optical process monitoring of LLM has been applied using a high speed near-infrared CMOS camera and a large area silicon photodiode sensor. Data processing rates up to 10 kHz and real-time process monitoring are achieved using image and signal processing on a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). Several case studies will be presented showing that the geometric influencing factors can be studied and quantified by analyzing the melt pool sensor output. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.