Laser cutting has been around for over half a century now, and yet these machines are still as relevant as they were fifty or sixty years ago. This is mainly because laser cutting has evolved and enhanced a lot over making it more and more useful for industries from around the world.
Laser cutting has come a long way, and today we can even find laser cutters that are operated using CNC technology. As a matter of fact, almost all CNC machine auctions feature at least one CNC laser cutter. But there is a lot more to laser cutting than just CNC, so let us take a look at this technology in-depth.
What is Laser Cutting?
Laser cutting is a simple manufacturing process where a high-powered and focused laser beam is used to cut through materials and give them a desired shape and structure. This technique can be used to cut through various types of materials, including plastic, gemstone, metal, glass, plastic, paper, and more.
Furthermore, many laser cutting machines such as the Prestige Equipment’s Trumpf laser cutters have gained a lot of popularity among manufacturers because of the machine’s ability to perform complex and intricate cuts with great precision without custom-designed tools.
Types of Laser Cutters
There are different types of laser cutters, and each of these lasers provides a ceaseless wavelength that serves a different range of purposes. To be more specific, there are three different types of laser cutters, namely fiber laser cutters, gas or CO2 laser cutters, and crystal laser cutters. Each of these lasers uses its own distinct base materials to spur the laser either through a mixture of gas combined with electricity or passed through physical diodes. Let us take a look at these types of lasers:
Fiber Laser Cutters
As the name suggests, fiber laser cutters use fiberglass to cut through different materials. Initially, the lasers originate from a seed laser and are then hyperbolized through special fibers within the cutter. Fiber lasers belong to the family of solid-state lasers, which also include nd: YAG and disk lasers.
Unlike gas lasers, fiber lasers are not equipped with moving parts, making them far more efficient. Furthermore, fiber lasers can seamlessly cut through any reflective materials without encountering any back reflections. Moreover, fiber lasers can be used to cut through both metal and non-metal materials with ease. Fiber lasers have always been a cost-effective and enduring alternative to other lasers, mainly because these laser cutters require minimum maintenance.
CO2 or Gas Laser Cutters
In the case of gas or CO2 lasers, the cutting is carried out with electronically stimulated carbon dioxide. CO2 lasers are formed with a combination of carbon dioxide and other gases such as helium and nitrogen. These machines emit a laser with a wavelength of 10.6 mm, making them equipped with enough energy to cut through thicker materials compared to fiber lasers equipped with the same amount of power.
Cutting through thicker materials with the gas laser also brings out a smooth finishing with perfect precision. The enhanced capabilities of CO2 lasers make them one of the most commonly used lasers. They are not just cost-effective compared to other lasers but can pierce through various materials with great efficiency. CO2 lasers are most suitable for cutting materials such as leather, wood, glass, foams, plastics, paper-like materials, and even acrylic.
Crystal Laser Cutters
This laser cutter is unique as compared to other lasers mainly because crystal lasers produce laser beams from YAG and YVO.
These highly efficient laser cutters can seamlessly cut through stronger and thicker materials. This is possible because crystal lasers have smaller wavelengths than CO2 lasers and these smaller wavelengths give this laser higher intensity. However, the parts of crystal laser cutters are very likely to wear out fast because of the high power generated by the laser. Crystal lasers can seamlessly pierce through materials such as metal, plastic, and even many different types of ceramics.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Laser Machine
Choosing the right laser cutter for manufacturing purposes is not always easy. Therefore, we have compiled a list of considerations one should make before buying or setting a laser cutting machine. These considerations include:
The dimensional length of a complete cycle of vibration for a photon within the laser beam is known as the wavelength of a laser beam. The wavelength is the partial determinant of the radiation absorption rate of a material. The radiation absorption rate allows the material to be vaporized, heated, or melted to produce the required cuts.
In laser cutting, the laser beam is directed through a specialized mirror or lens, followed by the beam being focused on a small spot of high intensity. Therefore, the focal spot is the point at which the diameter of the beam is the smallest. The perfect position of focus for cutting material with a laser depends on various factors such as the thickness of the material, shape, and mode of the beam, state of the focal lens, and the type of assist gas.
The laser power, which is also called wattage, alters the time required to cut through a material. This is mainly caused due to the increasing intensity of the beam that increases with the increase in the power of the laser. Furthermore, the price of laser cutting machines such as the fiber laser cutting machine depends on the laser power offered by the machine.
The beam mode is determined by the manner in which the intensity of the laser beam is distributed across the cross-sectional area of the beam. This also affects the size of the focal point of the beam as well as the intensity of the beam, which then affects the quality of the cut.
Today, laser cutting machines come in different variants with different specifications. For instance, there is the Trumpf CNC laser machine that leverages the enhanced capabilities of CNC to perform excellent cuts with great precision.
Laser cutting can benefit a manufacturer in numerous ways, which is probably why more and more manufacturers are buying these machines to ease their manufacturing processes. One can easily get their hands on a CNC laser machine from CNC equipment auctions by Prestige Equipment at affordable prices.