Laser cutting is used to cut any number of items from a variety of materials, such as clock faces, jigsaw puzzles, metal tags, packaging, machinery parts and components, signs, leather upholstery pieces, patterns, and more.

According to Coherent, a company that manufactures laser cutting machines, laser cutting may:

“… Concentrate a greater amount of energy towards a small and well-defined identified spot. The heat energy result, created through the laser, will vaporize the  materials in it as a small-defined place and gas, and/or a mixture of different  gases, like CO2, Oxygen, nitrogen, or even helium is then used in blowing out the material that was being vaporized by the kerf. The energy of the beam is applied right away and directly to where it is really needed, minimizing the HAZ or the Heat Affected Zone.”

Laser cutting is a process where a laser beam is used to heat a piece to the point where it is precisely severed. According to Answers.com, laser machines include a high-powered laser and a computer to direct the laser beam onto the material to be cut. From there, the laser beam melts, vaporizes, or burns the material along the predetermined cut line, resulting in a precise, neatly cut edge.

Laser Cutting Applications

Laser cutting is used by manufacturers, small businesses, schools, and hobbyists alike. According to Coherent, common items suitable for laser machine include:

  1. Thicker non-metal materials– You’ll need a laser cutter with an average power of between 250 to 500 watts (up to 1500 watt peak power) to cut thicker non-metal materials such as thicker plastics and wood up to one inch thick. In general, lower power lasers will have to work harder to make the same cut. This reduces cutting speed and can result in excessive heat, chemical changes, or damage to the Heat Affected Zone.
  2. Thin and non-metal form of materials– Fabrics, most plastics, papers, polycarbonate,  mylar stencils, wood that up to.04 more inches, and thin acrylics can be cut with a 150 watt average power (450 watt peak power) laser.
  3. Metal materials– Metal materials generally require higher power lasers between 150 and 1,000 watts (up to 2500 watt peak power). Some thin metals (such as stainless steel or cold rolled steel) can be cut with 150 watt lasers when oxygen-assist gas is used.

When it comes to cutting metal, wood, glass, and other hard surfaces, it’s hard to imagine a beam of light being able to keep up with a spinning blade. A traditional beam of light would indeed have a tough time. That said, a concentrated laser beam makes cutting a breeze. for additional tips, learn more information at http://hackaday.com/2017/07/12/laser-cutting-orreries/

Advantages of Laser Cutting

Laser machine do not wear due to cutting, resulting in less strain on the cutting equipment. Laser cut edges are clean. In addition to cutting items, lasers can also cut small, highly detailed holes with good edge quality.  The laser machine has come of age and are proven to be a reliable, advantageous alternative to other cutting methods.

Finally, laser offers numerous advantages over other types of cutting. Not only can you cut a variety of materials such as paper, plastics, cardboard, leather, and metal, lasers are extremely precise. Once a pattern is programmed into a laser cutter, it will continue to cut an exact copies piece after piece.

July 18th, 2017

Posted In: Cutting Ideas

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