Some Commonly Asked Questions About Laser Cutting for Metal

Laser cutting typically involves a concentrated beam of light that is connected to a computer-driven machine; the computer is used to create a design or pattern or to direct the laser as to the strength needed to cut certain metals. While laser cutting is becoming more and more common in many production facilities, you may still have some questions about using laser cutting versus other forms of cutting for metal pieces. Note a few questions that you might have about using lasers versus other forms of cutting, and then discuss these with a contractor if you still need more information about investing in laser cutting equipment.

Versus a router

A router can cut a design into metal or other materials when it's flat on a surface, rather than simply sawing it in half or cutting through it. However, a router needs a way to keep the material flat on the surface itself, and this can mean damage to the metal or having to secure edges that you will then cut off once the design itself is cut. In turn, you're using more material than you need and creating waste. A laser cutter will usually have a vacuum holder that secures a piece in place without damaging it and without the need for added edges that are simply wasted.

Note too that a router may need to be reset to follow a new pattern when you start cutting different materials, and setting up a new pattern for a router usually takes much longer than switching to a different computer program for a laser cutter. To make cutting faster when you have many different designs, consider a laser versus a router.

Versus a water jet

Water cutting can keep a material cool so there is little heat damage, but note that lasers don't produce heated edges either. Water also cannot cut every type of metal or piece needed in your facility, as some materials may be too thick to cut with a water jet. The abrasives used in water cutting also need to be disposed of, and this can be costly and messy. Laser cutting doesn't have abrasives so there is no cleanup needed.

Versus knife cutting or shears

Knife cutters or shears are also limited in what they can cut; certain thicknesses of metals may be too thick for shears, even those that are powered by a hydraulic motor and not operated by hand. Shears may also give you an imprecise cut around rounded edges, and may leave sharp edges that need to be trimmed down or bent, creating an extra step in the cutting process. Lasers are more precise and don't leave burrs or other edges that need further trimming or bending after they've been cut.

About Me

Optimising Sheet Metal in Building Projects and Other Manufacturing Blogs

Welcome! My name is Fiona. I'm a designer who works in marketing, but in my youth, I dreamed of being an architect. I was especially interested in combining interesting materials into buildings. In this blog, I want to explore that old love. I plan to write about using sheet metal in building, and I may go into the equipment involved or write about other industrial concepts as well. I hope to help you with every aspect of the process from shopping to building. Thank you for reading, and if you like my posts, please share them with others!