Lasers are used in various industries to complete specific tasks quickly. One such use of lasers is precision metal cutting. Metal laser cutting services are used to cut different metals in varying thicknesses, including stainless steel and aluminum. Owing to a rapid and high precision of cutting and the ability to cut through varying thickness sizes, the method has become extremely popular, especially in the manufacturing industry.
You may already be aware that LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Laser cutting, as the name indicates, uses a laser beam to cut metal into shapes that are not easily achieved with traditional cutting.
Laser cutting machines use a thermal process to cut through metal. A laser beam is focused on the metal in areas where cutting is required. The focused beam burns, melt or vaporize the metal, which leaves a high-quality finished cut piece. The pattern of cutting shape is achieved by moving the laser beam in the required pattern. Three common varieties of laser cutting are flame laser cutting, fusion laser cutting, and remote laser cutting.
Types of laser cutting
1. CO2 laser cutting
CO2 laser cutting is used to cut various materials, such as stainless steel, titanium, aluminum, mild steel, wood, plastic, paper, and fabrics. This laser cutting service uses an electrically stimulated carbon dioxide gas mixed with other gases like helium.
2. Crystal laser cutting
Crystal laser cutting uses neodymium yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd: YAG) and neodymium-doped yttrium ortho-vanadate lasers. These lasers have a wavelength of around 1.064 micrometers, which means metal and non-metal cutting can be done through crystal lasers.
3. Fiber laser cutting
Fiber laser uses a solid gain medium. It is an ideal choice for cutting reflective metals. The low maintenance required in fiber lasers and cheap replacement parts makes it more useful than other types.
Advantages of Metal Laser Cutting Service
Metal Laser cutting has many advantages over conventional cutting methods. Major benefits include:
- Laser cutting is mostly automated and is, therefore, quicker than other methods.
- It is a non-contact method, which creates nearly zero damage to the material you are working on. Moreover, the absence of direct contact between the cutting material and the metal being cut eliminates the chances of contamination.
- Laser cutting machines provide a high degree of control over factors like heat output, and intensity of the beam, and the duration of the cutting.
- It is a highly safe procedure as the laser beam is enclosed in a lightbox.
- A single laser cutting machine can cut a variety of materials without deforming the cutting edge.
- The process is versatile and lets you cut metal into different designs.
- Precision metal laser cutting reduces the waste material, as it is a conservative cutting method.
- Compared to traditional cutting machines, laser cutting requires less maintenance, and the replacement parts are also cheap.
- A laser cutting machine can easily hold a piece of metal.
- No other method can produce such precise cuts. This is the reason why most industries prefer laser cutting services for metal cutting.
Disadvantages of Laser Cutting Process
There are two sides to a coin. Although there are a lot of benefits that laser cutting offers, it still has a few drawbacks. Let us see what those are.
- Laser cutting requires more power as compared to other techniques.
- Although laser cutting provides high precision, it is also a delicate process. A slight mistake in adjusting the temperature can lead to the burning of the material.
- Similarly, an incorrect distance setting can also lead to discoloration or burning.
- Usually, the laser beam is enclosed in a box, but it can cause burns if it accidentally comes in contact with humans.
- Laser cutting can only cut metals of a specific upper range thickness. For extra thick metal pieces, we still need other methods.
- The time required for cutting depends on the type of metal, so the production is not always consistent.
- The production rate of laser cutting machines is limited by several factors, such as material thickness, laser power, and metal properties.
- The laser cutting process cannot cut all types of metals.
Despite these disadvantages, laser cutting has many plus points that one cannot ignore, especially the high-quality cutting it offers, which is impossible to achieve through any other process.
Why is laser cutting the best?
- Laser cutting does not require prototypes as it gets things right in the very first attempt.
- The tools used for laser cutting are not subjected to wear.
- Other than metal laser cutting, other materials, such as wood and acrylic, can also be cut effectively with a laser.
- Laser beam diameter is as small as 0.0005″. A smaller diameter guarantees material conservation.
- Laser cutting can be combined with chemical etching and electroforming to create complex designs.
- Metal laser cutting service can create parts in less time by eliminating the need for secondary processing.
- Precision cutting tools can process 5’x10′ sheets that result in less scrap.
- The heating zone of the material is narrow. The laser temperature does not affect the rest of the material.
Metal laser cutting is used in many industries. Military, aerospace engineers, medical technology manufacturers, the electronic industry, etc., use laser-cut components.
Laser cutting is an effective process for metal cutting. Whether stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, brass, or nickel, laser cutting can get you excellent metal cutting results with high precision and less time. No matter what project you have, if it requires metal cutting, laser cutting can be your go-to choice.