The accurate control of process parameters is particularly important for the growth of high quality structures during laser cladding. Melt pool size and cross sectional area are key process characteristics that can be controlled to allow the precise deposition of complex features. A feasible mathematical model is established to describe the interaction between laser and powder particles and to predict and control the cross sectional area. Also, a vision-based sensing system is proposed to detect the transient shape and size of the melt pool. The system focuses on the measuring of the geometric parameters of the melt pool by using a digital image processing method and thus giving researchers the parameters on-line, which gives us a necessary tool to gain insight into the cladding process and to optimize the material quality.