If you don’t use laser cutting as part of your manufacturing, it’s likely the possibility just never occurred to you, perhaps due to one of these five myths we’d now like to correct.
Laser cutting was first introduced in the 1960s and became widely adopted in the early 1980s. Today, laser cutting is a well-established mature technology used for millions of applications throughout industry.
Actually, laser cutting is simpler than most mechanical cutting techniques. You don’t have to cut a die, for example, and you don’t have to change tooling when you go from job to job. Lasers are programmable so the only thing needed to cut a pattern is a drawing or CAD file. We can even change the depth of the cut simply by changing the power of the laser which is harder to do, or to do as precisely, with mechanical cutting.
It all depends what you mean by burn. Lasers will char the end surfaces of cut pieces of wood, but not the other surfaces. Furthermore, the charring is not enough to burn away the edges — so the result is a clean sharp edge of exactly the dimensions specified. The laser’s heat affected zone (HAZ) is very small, which is one of the reasons why lasers are excellent for cutting softer materials like plastics. No burning occurs with other materials, like metals or plastics. When cutting plastics or composites the laser will seal the edge.
Lasers are excellent at cutting through all transparent materials, including glass, plastic, polysilicates, borosylicates, and quartz.
Laser cutting is suitable for cutting through a wide range of materials and a wide — but not infinite — range of thicknesses. Here are some example max thicknesses:
Whenever more than one technique is available to serve a particular manufacturing purpose, it often pays to investigate all the alternatives before deciding to go with one of them. Laser cutting may be a better, and more accessible, option than you might think. The best way to find out is to send us a sample of the material to be cut along with your drawing or a CAD file. We’ll be happy to evaluate your application at no charge and give you the real facts you need to decide.