Laser cutting is a highly precise and versatile method of cutting a wide variety of materials, from wood to plastic to metal. Laser cutting is widely used in industries such as manufacturing, aerospace and automotive, as well as DIY and art projects.
We'll explore the world of laser cutting, including how it works, the types of materials it can cut, and its applications. We'll also dive into the advantages of laser cutting, as well as some tips for getting started with laser cutting.
Using a laser, different processes can be performed, including laser engraving, laser marking, laser cutting and other processes involving physical alteration of materials. But cutting is a completely different process, it cuts the material into pieces.
The high-power laser beam is encapsulated in a laser module and consists of electromagnetic radiation of a specific wavelength that is invisible to the naked eye, such as infrared radiation in a CO2 laser cutter.
The beam then passes through several curved mirrors and reflectors, before being converged by a convex lens to a single point a fraction of a millimeter in diameter.
Accompanied by a fast-moving gas, usually nitrogen or oxygen, a highly focused laser beam exits a nozzle and is controlled by computer numerical control (CNC), making the process also known as CNC laser cutting. The computer program moves the laser head/module as required.
When a laser beam falls on a material, its temperature increases within milliseconds, causing sublimation, a process by which a material changes from a solid to a gaseous state without passing through a liquid state.
The material is then evaporated and a laser beam penetrates the object to cut it into the desired shape. If the laser beam is strong enough, this process can be done in one pass; otherwise, multiple passes are required.
In summary, laser cutting is a high-precision and efficient process that utilizes a focused laser beam to cut materials. The process involves the use of a highly focused laser beam and computer numerical control (CNC), which work together to achieve the desired result.
Materials suitable for laser cutting
Laser cutting is a popular technique for cutting and engraving a variety of materials such as wood, acrylic, metal, leather, and more.
Here are some materials suitable for laser cutting:
Wood: Laser cutting is an excellent technique for cutting wood, including plywood, MDF, and solid wood. It can create intricate designs, patterns and shapes with precision and speed.
Wood can also be laser engraved using a laser, allowing for custom artwork and personalized gifts.
Acrylic: Acrylic is a popular material for laser cutting due to its versatility, durability, and aesthetic appeal, making it a popular choice for applications that require an attractive and aesthetically pleasing finish, such as trophies, trophies, memorabilia, displays, and decorative items.
Leather: Laser cutting can produce intricate and precise designs on leather while minimizing waste. It is commonly used in the fashion industry for cutting leather patterns, bags and accessories.
Plastics: Laser cutting is suitable for a wide variety of plastic materials including acrylic (PMMA), polystyrene (PS), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and more. It can create precise shapes and designs for signage, displays and packaging.
It is important to note that different types of plastics have different melting points and respond differently to laser cutting. Therefore, the manufacturer or supplier of the laser cutting machine must be consulted to ensure that the plastic material is suitable for laser cutting.
Also, it is crucial to take precautions when cutting plastic materials as they can release harmful fumes when exposed to high temperatures.
Paper and Cardboard: Laser cutting is great for paper and cardboard prototypes, pop-up cards, and intricate designs.
Fabric: Laser cutting can create clean cuts and precise shapes on all types of fabrics, including cotton, silk, polyester and leather. It can be used in fashion, upholstery and decorations.
Rubber: Laser cutting is ideal for cutting rubber materials, including silicone rubber, neoprene, and natural rubber. It is used in the automotive, industrial and medical industries.
Metal: Metal cutting with a laser is suitable for thinner materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, brass and copper. It can also engrave on coated or anodized metals.
Foam: Laser cutting is ideal for cutting foam materials, including foam rubber, EVA foam, and polyurethane foam. It can create precise shapes and designs for packaging, cosplay costumes, and props.