Laser cutting is nothing new. It is, however, greatly improved with technology, especially that of Fiber Lasers and Direct Diode resonators which have removed much of the maintenance and operating costs of the CO2 systems of the past. Laser cutting is also one of the most interesting methods of metal fabrication processes as it is very adaptable, precise, and efficient, which makes it very popular for parts simple or complex. 

Lasers are used to cut wood, metal, plastic, rubber, and almost any other material that can be thermally cut. It avoids direct contact with the materials and allows for exact precision with accuracies down to 3 decimal places easily. 

What is Laser Cutting?

Lasers are used in many areas, from surgery to hair removal. The basics of LASERS is actually quite simple, it is the amplification of light, ever increasing, until the intensity of the heat created is such that it can melt, or vaporize materials. Laser power is measured in KW from 2-6KW on average today, to over 40KW in some high speed (and expensive) heavy plate cutting systems. A laser is used to cut or etch a pattern or design into a specific material. And with the aid of technology, it can be programmed to make just about any shape you need. 

How Does Laser Cutting Work?

The laser used to cut material is a very intense shaft of light producing intense heat. The word laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. It has the power to cut metal because of its intensity in one single wavelength. 

If you are using a typical CO2 laser, that wavelength is in the Infra-Red section of the light spectrum, so it is invisible to the human eye. The beam is only about 3/4 of an inch across as it moves from the laser resonator, which creates the beam, through the machine’s beam path, which is a gas protected pathway to the cutting head. From there it gets reflected (bounced) off of  several different mirrors and then is refocused in intensity in the cutting head before it finds its target. As the laser beam flows through the end of the nozzle, there is also compressed gas, like Oxygen or Nitrogen that flows out surrounding the beam that shields the cutting path from ambient air and can protect the material or intensify the burn per the operators desires. 

The laser needs to be focused very precisely. This is done using special curved mirrors or lenses throughout that beam path delivery system. Then again, the beam is focused to a pinpoint in the cutting head where the heat is intensified, allowing it to cut (or vaporize) the material. 

Top 5 Design Benefits of Laser Cutting

Most people who have a choice, choose lasers for their process over other cutting methods. There are many advantages to using laser cutting. 

  1. Versatility 

A laser can be used on many different materials. That means if you produce many different products, you only need one machine. It can be set up to cut whatever you need easily in materials like carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminum. It can also be used for marking or etching a product, serial number, date, revision number, assembly instructions or brand name on to the surface but not cutting right through. Plus, the ‘tools’ don’t need to be changed when you change the cut (just the nozzle depending on the application).

  1. Precision

The pinpoint accuracy of laser cutting is one of its greatest advantages. It is so precise it doesn’t need any adjustments to the finished parts later. When the laser is programmed, it will cut exactly the same patterns every single time.

  1. Speed

Laser cutting is much faster than other methods of cutting. This is particularly true when it comes to more intricate designs. Because there are no other tools to set up each time, it moves production along much quicker.

  1. Cost-Effective

The same machine will work for almost all the different materials you will be using. There are no additional tools required and there is far less if any, waste or scraps to be discarded.

  1. Customization

These laser machines can be programmed to suit whatever it is you need them to cut. It is also automated, so there is little room for human error. The customized options are endless and allow a machine payback time to be divided by the 3 shifts available in a production day. 

New and Used Laser Cutting Machines

Buying a used machine will save you money on the initial investment and may be a great way to get into the field of Laser Cutting. 

Browse our inventory of cutting-edge laser equipment. If we don’t have exactly what you are looking for, just ask us. We have access to hundreds of available Laser Cutting Systems through our partner network of machinery dealers and will be happy to find the right machine at the right price for you.

Here at Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales, we love to share our extensive working knowledge of manufacturing equipment. We have well over 100 years of combined manufacturing experience and can help you make the right machine choice for your application AND budget. 

Give us a call or send an email to ask us anything about fabrication machinery. If we don’t have it, we can find it. We also buy, sell, finance, and so much more. 

Laser Systems