Laser Cutting is particularly suites to high end precision engineering. This technology has the following advantages over other cutting technologies:
• Ultra accurate - tolerances of less that 0.3mm can be achieved
• Ideal for intricate or complex designs
• Edge quality is better than other cutting processes
• Minimal heat affected zone
• Reduced chance of workpiece warping
• Ability to cut difficult and stubborn materials
The Laser Cutting Process
Laser cutting is an extremely precise cutting method used to create designs from a given material using a CAD file to direct movement. The 3 main types of lasers are CO2 lasers, Nd and ND-YAG. With this cutting method you can achieve really fine levels of detail on a wide range of different materials.
A laser cutter works by focusing the energy of a high-powered laser onto one fixed point, usually through an optic. The laser beam is manipulated by CNC (computer numerical control) and either melts or burns the material being cut.
Excess material is blown away from the cut using a strong jet of gas; this leaves behind edging with a high quality surface finish. This gas is usually oxygen, but nitrogen can also be used for stainless steel cutting as it also protects the hot metal from being oxidised.
The laser will usually measure between 0.15 and 0.2 centimetres in diameter and is intensified by a lens/mirror to focus onto a spot measuring approximately 0.002 centimetres.
Laser cutting also has many advantages over plasma cutting as the process is more precise and uses significantly less energy; although plasma cutting is still more effective when cutting through thicker materials.