Metal laser cutters are a cornerstone of production lines around the world. However, newer, relatively smaller laser cutters can also be found in metal cutting industries. They can also be found in architectural style firms, and even enthusiast carparks for those who need to cut various rods, pipes, and metal sheets in materials ranging from aluminum and stainless steel. To choose the best metal laser cutter for your work, you must understand the different kinds of laser that can cut metals and the best methods for laser cutting them.
What Is Laser Cutting Of Metal?
Laser cutting is a metal cutting and engraving procedure that employs an intensively concentrated, cohesive beam of light to cut into acrylics, wood, paper, and metals. It is a subtractive method that uses regulated crack propagation, chemically burning, or evaporation to eliminate material during the cutting operation. Moreover, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) laser optics could drill a hole as thin as 5 microns. Because laser cutting of metals produces no leftover pressure on materials, cutting brittle and delicate materials is feasible.
How Can Laser Cut Metal?
Laser (Light Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation) beams of light are high-intensity, concentrated beams that have proven helpful instruments in various sectors. The concept of the product is the initial stage in the laser cutting procedure. A designer should develop a template for the appropriate cuts digitally. In addition, a laser cutting machine has specific controllers that can transform a file into something usable by the equipment. The developer’s expertise will also serve as a guideline for the laser to determine where to cut.
When the design is finished, the laser starts cutting metal. A unique lens or network of mirrors concentrates the beam, directing it to the desired location. This generates high heat, allowing a laser to cut metal and other complex materials. If entirely focused, a laser swiftly generates accurate slices. It is a more precise and efficient metal cutting than previous methods.
What Laser Can Cut Metal?
The kinds of laser cutter that can cut through metals are listed below.
- CO2 Laser
An electrical charge is sent over a glass tube filled with CO2 and other gases to produce a CO2 laser. There are two reflectors at the tip of this airtight glass container, and the electricity traveling throughout the tube inflames the gases, forcing them to create light. The light is reflected around the laser cutter’s strategically arranged mirrors until being focused by a lens and leaving the machine, striking the surface of the substance you are operating with.
Moreover, CO2 lasers are less expensive. However, they always need nitrogen or oxygen as gaseous assistance and are confined to cutting less-reflective metals. CO2 lasers are also delicate devices. They are highly fragile because of their mix of glass and mirror tubes and require precise alignment to work correctly. This leads to higher maintenance and service requirements in money and time. However, this is compensated by their initial pricing.
- Fiber Laser
Fiber lasers are a recent technique in the field of laser cutting. On an industrial scale, they are frequently employed to cut thin metal sheets for manufacturing components. They are still pricey devices in desktops size, but they offer a variety of advantages, including improved electricity efficiency and fewer moving components. The laser in a fiber laser is created by combining an optic fiber with rare-earth materials. Moreover, fiber lasers cut without the need for a support gas. This technology produces lasers that are exceedingly steady and simple to concentrate on.
What Are The Advantages Of Laser Cutting Of Metal?
Laser cutting is widely used in a variety of sectors. It offers many benefits, but there are a few disadvantages. The most significant advantage of lasers is their effectiveness. Laser cutters offer precise, intricate, and accurate cuts. As a result, the machines are a good match for organizations requiring them to manufacture high-quality items rapidly.
How Much Does Laser Cutting Of Metals Cost?
Because CO2 fiber laser devices may cost up to an additional $10,000, laser cutting of metals is frequently confined to industrial and professional applications. Try punch cutting, plasma cutting, water jet cutting, or even making your own laser cutter if you need something less expensive. Metal laser cutters are frequently purchased via a supplier instead of directly from the producer. However, a list of suppliers may be found on the company’s website.
Cutting metal does not vary from cutting wood if you possess the right equipment and follow the required precautions. The laser cutter generates a beam that vaporizes or melts the material, with the support of gas assistance that helps with warming the material and blasts away particles or just discards trash. The key distinction would be that metals are reflecting, and specific lasers, such as most CO2 lasers, cannot withstand the laser getting reflected in the laser emitters.
Moreover, CO2 lasers in the 150- to 300-watt level are typically used on non-reflective steels. Fiber lasers, on the other hand, operate individually, allowing them to be much stronger than CO2 lasers while exhibiting almost none of the downsides. Before venturing into laser cutting of metal, be equipped with the necessary knowledge you need to know in the field of laser cutting.