Here we present the results of mathematical, numerical, and experimental simulation of the processes of interaction between the laser radiation and metals in the technologies of gas-laser cutting of thick-sheet materials and laser gas-powder cladding at the production of coatings and 3D objects by the DMD (Direct Material Deposition) method. The peculiarities of jet 3D flows of the working gases in narrow channels, geometrically identical to keyholes, are studied. It is demonstrated that during the stainless steel cutting, supersonic gas flows form local regions of separation flows which in turn result in the worse carry-away of the metal by the gas flow; these factors increase the roughness (striation) and worsen the surface quality. A vortex flow was found inside the cut at the subsonic jet flows typical for the oxygen gas-laser cutting of low-carbon steel; this flow causes slagging of the cut bottom edge. The processes running inside the laser cut at the fusible metals cutting with the low-power radiation were visualized under the laboratory conditions. Some new concepts of the processes running inside the keyhole have been gained; we also propose the explanations of the mechanisms of striation and other surface defects formation during the cutting of thick-sheet standard metals on the automate laser technological complex. A mathematical model of the volumetric laser-powder cladding is proposed. The submitted results concern the numerical simulation of multi-layer flows of shaping and carrier gases with the gas-jet transportation of powder particles into the laser spot on the substrate.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.