Cutting is an essential part of the fabrication process, and it’s the first step in projects involving metal. Depending on the production goal, cutting can be done with an automated saw or a punch press. However, today’s laser cutting machines get these jobs done accurately and efficiently, providing precise cuts every time. Is a laser cutter the right addition to your production facility? This guide will offer the information customers need to make an informed decision.
How Laser Cutting Works
Laser cutting is a contact-free process that’s used with non-metallic and metallic materials. When laser beams hit workpieces, the area is super heated until it melts and vaporizes. During the process, the beam focuses on small sites—not the whole piece. If a single area is heated enough, the laser beam will penetrate the piece without the tool ever touching it. Check out these Boss Laser product reviews to learn more about the process.
CO2 Laser Cutters
A CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser cutter uses gases and electricity to operate. Most of these laser cutters require a delivered, sealed, or pre-charged assist gas, such as nitrogen or oxygen, to refine the laser beam’s cut based on the project’s specifications and the materials themselves. When working with thicker materials, CO2 lasers offer faster straight cuts and a smoother surface.
Fiber Laser Cutters
A fiber laser cutter uses diodes to create light. Optical fibers dipped in rare earth elements such as thulium, ytterbium, or erbium, amplify that light to create cuts. Fiber laser cutters work faster and consume less power than CO2 cutters. If you’re cutting reflective or thin materials, a fiber laser cutter is a great option. Fiber lasers cut thin pieces quickly, and because they have a smaller cutting focal point, they’re ideal for marking barcodes and serial numbers.
Why Use a Laser Cutter?
With today’s laser cutting equipment, the possibilities are nearly endless. Depending on the application, laser cutting might be the right choice to reduce waste and get precise, custom cuts. Here are a few of the biggest benefits of laser cutting.
- Accuracy. Laser cutters vaporize materials quickly, creating accurate cuts with little need for post processing. The laser’s small, focused beam produces smooth edges, leaving almost no distortion or melted material behind.
- Complexity. Does the project require attention to detail? Are its custom parts a unique size or shape? A laser cutter can handle complex geometries without placing undue stress on the remainder of a workpiece.
- Material selection. Users can cut nearly any material with a laser cutter, including aluminum, brass, copper, plastic, and stainless steel. This method of cutting is great for use with thin materials because the laser cutting is fast and doesn’t warp the material.
- Versatility. Lasers can cut through most materials, producing exact contours and shapes repeatedly. They can also perform engraving, marking, and drilling tasks.
If you’re searching for a way to reduce material waste and get the most out of every piece, laser cutting techniques will help maximize the value of raw materials.
Laser Cutting is an Asset to Every Industry
Many industries rely on laser cutters for precise and repetitive fabrication tasks. Users in the automotive, medical, electronics, and general manufacturing sectors use these machines to create components to exacting specifications. If you’re ready to start a fabrication project, contact Boss Laser to request a quote or to learn more about its laser cutters’ capabilities.