Making The Cut: The Benefits of Laser Cutting and Engraving
Laser cutting is a process used to cut materials such as metal plates and is typically used in industrial manufacturing. The laser cutting and engraving processes are highly accurate on materials such as mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. This high level of accuracy allows the laser to cut and engrave intricate shapes and cut very small holes. These holes are 0.0125 inches at the narrowest part of the laser’s beam. So how does a focused beam of light cut through a solid material like metal?
How it works
Laser cutting directs the output of a high-powered laser through a set of specialized optics, which are used to focus the laser beam on to the material, which is being controlled by the computer numerical control (CNC) process. The focused beam then melts, burns or vaporizes, or is removed by a jet of gas, leaving a finely-finished edge. Cutting plastic parts is also possible along with metal.
Laser engraving, on the other hand, is the process of using the laser beam to remove just the surface of the material, essentially vaporizing is to expose a cavity which can be seen and felt. In addition to various metals, this process also works for engraving on plastic.
Laser cutting and engraving benefits
Compared to traditional plasma cutting methods, laser methods offer the advantages of being more precise and more energy-efficient when cutting steel and aluminum sheets. Additional benefits include higher precision levels and edge quality, and the ability to cut complex shapes without the need for tooling. This method also provides for less contamination of the materials being worked on.
For engraving, using a laser over a traditional method also offers several advantages. The biggest benefit is that the laser never touches the material, which results in less wear and tear on tooling. This also decreases the risk of damage to the mold and ensures that the laser remains highly accurate. Other benefits include the ability to more precisely engrave harder to reach areas or convex/concave shapes, improved speed, and greater environmental safety as a laser produces no chemicals or toxic by-products typically associated with traditional acids etching.
If you are a manufacturer in need of high quantities of laser cut parts, consider using custom laser cutting services to get the job done. There are many parameters that affect the cutting process, but when controlled properly, it will provide the most accurate and highest-quality cut available.