Using advanced laser mask projection methods it is possible to manufacture miniature complex 3D structures in polymers and ceramics for sensor and micromechanical device prototyping or mass manufacture. Subtle movements of workpiece and mask (separately or together) during processing allow complex devices to be realized. Multilevel sensor structures can be constructed using lamination techniques. The full capabilities of laser micromachining techniques are explained in detail and an examples of novel 3D structures made by laser machining are shown.© (1997) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.