Laser cutting uses a laser beam to cut through a material. You can cut highly complex designs and shapes using laser cutting easily when compared to other cutting processes. There are other services that you can obtain from a laser cutting company apart from cutting material. These include etching or engraving a design into a material, marking and drilling.
When it comes to engraving a material, the laser only heats up the surface of the material. There is a lot of precise work included in laser cutting. Many manufacturing companies use laser cutting machines in fine work. They are used to create prototypes quickly and at a lower cost. There are also hobbyists that use laser cut machines to create physical samples of complex digital designs.
You can find different types of laser cutting machines in the market. But the basic process of the machine depends on a laser beam that cuts through a material. This line is reflected through mirrors and directed to the cutting head. The laser gets focused within the cutting head and a concentrated laser beam is produced which is projected to the material that requires cutting.
A laser cutter is controlled by a computer. The design that you want to cut will be loaded into the computer. There are many types of digital software that can be used to create the design. Once the image is sent to the laser cutter through the computer, the cutting process will start. The laser beam will cut into the material that is placed on the cutting bed. In some instances, engraving will be done.
There are some compatible materials that are used as a substrate in this process. You can laser cut acrylic, paper, and wood, cardboard and metal. The two main types of laser cutters you will find on the market are fiber lasers, CO2 lasers and neodymium lasers. The power range in different machines will vary and the materials they are compatible with will be different as well. The thickness that the laser cutting machine can cut through will also depend on the type of the machine.
The most commonly used laser cutter is the CO2 laser because of the affordability of the machine. They can be used to cut through most materials such as glass, acrylic, cardboard, wood, leather and certain types of plastic. But these machines generally have low power. If you want a higher intensity to cut through materials with a higher thickness, you can choose a neodymium laser.
Materials that it can cut through are ceramics, metal and plastics. Some different types of metals that lasers can cut through are aluminum, steel, brass, stainless steel, nickel and copper. Lasers can use a continuous wave where the laser beam focuses on the material continuously until its cut or uses a pulse laser beam where a cut is completed through a series of pulses. The cuts that are achieved with a laser are very precise because they are programmed by a computer and a narrow beam is used to create focused cuts.