The wear resistance of high-value copper components used in the metal casting, automotive, aerospace and electrical equipment industries can be improved by applying nickel (Ni)-based coatings through laser cladding. A high-power diode laser array providing continuous power levels up to 10 kilowatts with beam-shaping optics providing a rectangular focal region of various dimensions was used to deposit Ni-based alloy coatings with controlled thickness ranging from 0.3 mm to 1.6 mm in a single pass on copper (Cu) substrates. Slotted powder feeding plates with various discrete widths delivered uniform streams of powdered metal particles entrained in a carrier gas, matching the selected focal spot dimensions. To enhance laser beam coupling with the substrate and to avoid defects such as cracks, delamination and porosity, Cu substrates were preheated to a temperature of 300°C. The effect of heat input on microstructure of the cladding and extent of the heat-affected zone (HAZ) was evaluated using optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Excessive heat input with longer interaction time increased dilution, porosity and expanded HAZ that significantly reduced the hardness of both the clad and the Cu substrates. Average microhardness of the Ni-C-B-Si-W alloy coating was 572 HV, which was almost 7 times greater than the hardness of the Cu substrate (84 HV).