Laser additive fabrication allows the manufacturing of functionally graded structures that are not possible using conventional subtractive manufacturing. Laser deposition of injected powders with varying compositions, layer-by-layer, is often used for the building up of functionally graded fully dense structures or materials. This approach, however, has some drawbacks: the un-used powders (normally 60-80%) cannot be recycled as they will be contaminated by the powder mixture. In addition, multiple passes are needed to develop functionally graded structures. This paper reports the feasibility and characteristics of using simultaneous powder and wire feeding laser deposition to produce functionally graded structures in a single step. This approach has been shown to eliminate the above problems associated with powder feed laser deposition. In this work, copper powder and nickel wire have been used to deposit functionally grated copper/nickel/iron structures on H13 tool steel. A 1.5-kW diode laser is used for the build-up process. Electron probe microanalysis (EPMA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and optical microscopy are used to analyse the deposited materials in terms of morphology, composition distributions, microstructures and phases formed. Successful deposition of functionally graded Cu-Ni-Fe structures has been demonstrated. Comparisons are made with the dual powder feed deposition process, which shows the inclusion of un-melted Ni powders in the Cu layer as a result of melting temperature difference of the two materials. © 2006 Taylor & Francis.