EDUCATION

The Cutting Edge: A Guide to Laser Cutting

Laser cutting is incredibly versatile and can be used to cut a wide variety of different materials. Whether you want to laser cut copper, paper, wood, acrylic, foam or numerous other metals, you can achieve precise results with this technique. Laser cutting can be used for one-off jobs or for low volume production but it is not typically used for high-volume jobs. 

With laser cutting, there is a range of different potential applications and using this process you can create a wide variety of different things. From complex engravings to detailed graphics or constructing complicated three-dimensional objects, there are many ways that laser cutting can be used nowadays. However, before you get started with laser cutting, it’s important that you take some time to understand the basics. 

Let’s take a look at a quick guide to laser cutting to ensure that you have the knowledge you need to take advantage of this technology. 

What Is A Laser Cutter? 

A laser cutter is a computerised machine that can be used to cut materials with an incredibly high degree of accuracy using a laser beam. This laser is essentially a highly-focused light that is amplified so that it is strong enough to melt vaporise or burn whatever material it comes into contact with. Different machines have different levels of power, which typically determines what types of materials they can be used to cut. 

Different Types Of Laser Cutters

There are three primary types of laser cutters, each of which has its pros and cons. First of all, there are CO2 lasers, which emit a wavelength of 10.6mm and are composed primarily of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and helium. CO2 Lasers are highly efficient and are low-cost, making them ideal for manufacturing processes

Crystal laser cutters are much stronger than their CO2 counterparts and feature smaller wavelengths but higher intensity. They can be more expensive to run than gas cutters but are capable of cutting through much stronger materials. 

Finally, fibre laser cutters are three times more energy-efficient than gas cutters and they use fibreglass to amplify the base seed layers. This type of laser has no moving parts making them easier and more cost-effective to operate and maintain. They can also cut through reflective materials and cut thin sheets quickly. 

Three Primary Applications

Generally speaking, the three main tasks for any laser cutter are cutting, marking and engraving. 

Cutting is when the laser beam goes the entire way through the material to create a defined cut which you can expect to be extremely fine and clean. 

Engraving can be done when the laser is calibrated to remove just a part of the top material but will not be allowed to move the entire way through. Marking will not remove any of the base material but instead changes the colour of the material it is focused on. 

Marking is often used with metal where a marking solution is applied to the material. Once the marking substance has dried an engraving will be performed ensuring that the laser bonds the substance to the material, leaving a permanent mark behind. 

Choose The Right Type Of Laser Cutting For Your Next Project

Choosing the right type of laser cutting is important in getting the results that you want for your next project. While the information outlined above will give you a good overview of laser cutting and what it is, it’s important that you take the time to research the needs of your specific project. With the right approach, you can ensure that you will find the right solution to meet your needs moving forward.

TIME BUSINESS NEWS

TBN Editor

Time Business News Editor Team