Recently, the researches on the relationships among parameter, temperature, thermal stress, and residual thermal stress in direct laser fabrication (DLF) are extensively conducted. However, it takes a long time to simulate the large-scale workpiece, and thus, the studies on simulations are still limited to small test parts. This paper presents an original idea that the large-scale workpiece is substituted by subarea simulation for DLF finite element model. In simulating the workpiece DLF, we have established two groups of models to which two discrepant approaches are applied. Unlike the traditional time-consuming methods for intact simulation, our subarea simulation method saves a large amount of time and internal memory, which is vital for the large-scale simulating process. Our novel approach shows that a large-scale workpiece can be divided into several subareas for simulation such that finite element computation can be distributed to a certain number of computers working simultaneously. The experimental results verify that our approach benefits the subarea simulation as well as the distributed computation of DLF. 漏 2013 Springer-Verlag London.