Posted on: 17 July 2017
Laser cutting is a specific type of technology that employs the use of a laser to cut materials. Laser cutters are manufacturing and prototyping tools that are used primarily by designers, artists, and engineers to accurately cut and etch work pieces into different types of flat materials. The tools use a thin focused laser beam to traverse and pierce through materials to come up with the geometries and patterns required. Laser cutters can also raster various designs on different works by heating the surface at high temperature to burn off the top layer and change its appearance. Here is valuable knowledge about laser cutting equipment and some basics about the process:
Types of Laser Cutting Machines
Laser cutting machines exist in three major categories:
- Fibre Lasers
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) Lasers
- Neodymium Lasers
Carbon dioxide (CO2) Lasers
This type of laser cutter generates a laser beam from an electrically stimulated mixture of gases with carbon dioxide in highest concentration. They are the most common because of their low prices, low power, and ability to raster and pierce through different types of materials. Examples of materials that can undergo CO2 laser cutting process include paper products like cardboards, glass, acrylic, wood, and leather.
They are designed from a "seed laser" and customised by being amplified using a special type of glass fibres. They have a similar wavelength and intensity to that of neodymium lasers; however, their design nature makes them have minimal maintenance demands. Fibre lasers are perfect for laser marking processes. Examples of materials worked on include plastics and metals.
Neodymium Lasers are created from neodymium doped crystal materials. They have a smaller wavelength with higher intensity than CO2 lasers. For this reason, they can cut through stronger and thicker materials. Due to their high power, the machine tends to wear faster, increasing maintenance needs. Materials worked on include plastics, metals, and some ceramics.
Types of Design Software for Laser Cutters
Laser cutting machines are designed with software drivers that enable them to read what is on the computer screen and convert it into a readable format by the laser cutter. Examples include:
2D Design: This includes Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Inkscape and AutoCAD
3D Design: These are Solidworks, Autodesk Fusion and Autodesk Inventor
Vector Cutting Process
The cutting process involves the cutting head firing a continuous laser to the target material to accurately slice through it. The cutter driver is able to read all the vector paths within the designed piece in order to tell where to cut.
Contact a professional laser cutting service for more information and assistance.Share