What is laser cutting?
The laser cutting process uses a directed laser beam to cut a shape from a block of material. Using optics and computer firmware, a laser is focused on the material to melt or burn the item.
Laser engraving is a relative process - the difference is that engraving only removes the top layer to leave details on the surface.
How does a laser cutter work?
Laser cutting is better described as melting because the laser beam melts or vaporizes unwanted extra material on the workpiece.
The resonator produces a laser beam;
A mirror or beam bender guides it through the nozzle;
The nozzle blows out compressed gas;
Special lenses in the cutting head focus the beam on the plate;
It results in a precise and focused density at the focal point.
What are some interesting materials that can be laser cut?
Each machine has a range of materials that can be used, depending on the laser's wavelength, heat output, intensity and power.
Less powerful lasers are used on fabrics, leather, paper, and other delicate materials to avoid overheating, while gems, metals, and thicker workpieces require higher power to cut. Some examples of interesting and unusual materials include:
Organic materials (if shells, leaves);
Can you cut glass and mirrors with a laser?
Depending on the laser parameters and material thickness, you can cut a piece or just etch it. One of the main problems with laser cutting reflective surfaces like glass or mirrors is that the beam can be redirected from the focal point. In the case of mirrors, it is advisable to cut them from the back, where there is the covered side.
Can a laser cut stone?
Laser cutting is a type of CNC cutting or machining. In contrast to mechanical CNC, it uses a focused laser beam to subtract material instead of a mechanical milling cutter. Laser cut parts have smoother edges when laser melted. On some materials, it causes charring of the sides, which can be used as a decorative effect. If charring is detrimental to the part, a protective film/masking of the area is recommended to reduce burns.
Can aluminum be laser cut?
Aluminum is one of the most popular metals to be cut and engraved with a laser cutter. There is a wide variety of aluminum sheets in a variety of finishes and colors to suit a variety of needs.
A common problem with cutting aluminum is its reflective surface. Professionals look for ways to overcome this hurdle by using protective coatings or aluminum alloys that reduce reflectivity rather than pure metals.
What materials can the laser cut?
Laser cutters are capable of processing many different materials. The most popular include wood, MDF, steel, aluminum, paper, plastic, acrylic, leather and fabric. The key to successfully cutting media with a laser is choosing the correct machine type and power, as well as avoiding reflective materials.
For some media such as acrylic or aluminum, a protective film is placed to prevent the reflection of the laser beam back to the source.
The ones that absolutely cannot be used with a laser cutter are glass and PVC. Pure glass cannot be cut due to excessive reflection, while PVC cannot be cut due to the toxic fumes that evaporate during heating.
Lesser known materials that can be laser cut and engraved are stone, ceramics, enamel.
Are there any good online laser cutting services online?
There are many quality and reliable online laser cutting services on our platform. We have laser cutting and engraving suppliers of different types and capabilities worldwide. You can view a full list of all available services, including customer prices and reviews, on this page.
How much does laser engraving cost?
You can check approximate prices for laser cutting and engraving using Instant Orders. Our system calculates material and work costs and gives you a price in minutes. Just upload the file into the form and select the specification. You'll be able to see quotes from different suppliers and compare costs to choose the one that best suits your needs.
What are the benefits of laser engraving
Laser-based engravers are known for more precise and rounded edges than other computer-controlled engraving methods. The laser beam vaporizes the material rather than cutting it, which usually leaves a more accurate finish. Accuracy is another advantage: high-quality lasers can work on very small scales, providing high-resolution detail.
From an owner or business perspective, a laser engraver can help reduce the cost of spare tools and reduce post-processing time.
Can a laser cut metal?
A laser cutter powerful enough to machine metal. Operators should be aware of reflective surfaces or use masking/coating for certain types of metals. Metals that can be cut are: