Custom Sheet Metal Laser Cutting
One of the most practical processes of cutting metal sheets is laser cutting. The process is also known as CNC laser cutting or laser beam cutting. Laser cutting is able to cut numerous materials such as aluminum or steel sheets. The three-dimensional bodies like tubes and profiles can be also cut through the laser cutting process.
KDM uses laser cutting techniques for different sheet metal fabrication projects. These methods bring numerous benefits to your projects, such as:
Relatively Low Cost: Laser cutting involves CNC automation that lowers labor costs.
Speed and Efficiency: The laser can move very quickly around 20-70 inches/minute, depending on the intricacy and tolerances of the parts.
Automation: Laser cutting machines are entirely run through CNC controls that lead to higher quality and maximum efficiency products.
High Precision: Has highly detailed capabilities to produce tight tolerance and small cuts.
Sheet Metal Laser Cutting: The Ultimate Guide
Sheet metal laser cutting is an important and popular sheet metal fabrication techniques.
However, you can only produce high quality parts with an in-depth knowledge about the process.
This guide, explores all information that will guarantee cost effective and high quality laser cut parts.
Take a look:
A technology of cutting materials like stainless steel, aluminum alloy, carbon steel and other metal materials using laser is laser cutting.
Numerous metal sheets are supported in laser cutting techniques due to its high precision cutting, compatibility and quality assurance.
It is used in many processing and manufacturing industries e.g. sheet metal processing, electrical appliances, automobiles, machinery, metallurgical equipment, household appliances.
Sheet Metal Laser Cutting
Laser cutting method is more accurate compared to others, due to their high capabilities they create small cuts with high tolerance.
They are +/-0.1 mm accurate thus high precision hence no any after-treatment.
They are the best in intricate cuts, smooth, sharp, clean edges and curves producing very little to no burring.
Laser are known for their abilities to melt materials rather than cutting them.
In laser cutting it is only the beam that comes in contact with the material thus no mechanical friction to wear the tools.
Depending with the factors like material, thickness and right setup, laser cutters gives high-quality cut leaving a very small burr.
When the heat affected zone is small, the microstructure along the zone changes resulting in more predictable and reliable parts.
High Speed/ Efficiency
Due to its high speed, complexity of the cuts isn’t an issue.
Laser cutting cuts at a speed of up to 10mm thickness moving 20-70 inches per minute better than all thermal cutting methods.
The tolerances determines the exact speed and the intricacy of the parts thus moving very quickly.
The laser’s power also determines heavily the speed of the laser cutting.
Through multi-head lasers and multiple lasers working at once cutting speeds can be increased.
Even with the absence of operators, laser cutters can work overnight increasing the overall efficiency of the cutting process.
Laser cutters finish parts faster than other cutting processes due to their efficiency and high speed capabilities.
Flexible Cutting Options
You can use the same setup to make a separate cut with different shapes and material thicknesses with laser cutting.
It does not require a new setup or laser due to its unique and flexible setup operations.
Ease Of Automation
The sense of automation in the manufacturing process helps in the utilization of laser cutter.
Machines run by CNC automation controls where a code is entered into computer eliminating defects hence no variations in products.
When machine is automated less labor is required during machine operation making the process more efficient hence higher quality products.
Versatility of laser cutting is determined by the type of materials they support, speed of the machine and cost of operation.
Laser cutting are ideal and good fit for any size product e.g. plastics, sheet metal laser cutting and plastic laser materials.
Depending with the type of materials, the process allows one machine to perform different jobs.
Because of the accuracy and high precision of laser cutters the end result are of the highest quality.
Laser cutters have minimal disruption and faster when fabricating sheet metals, they ensure project are within their reach.
Laser cutters are the fastest cutting sheet metal method which ensures that your projects are completed on time.
Laser cutter is very cost effective mechanisms compared to other methods Because of their CNC automation.
No one needs to operate the machine when in use, simply flip a switch and let it run thus minimizing the labor costs.
In laser cutting there is no necessary changeover mid-process because lasers don’t get dull or worn like other cutting tools.
Therefor shortening lead times hence better productivity.
In the cutting process when interruptions are minimal costs are low.
Consider operation thickness of the laser cutter which is directly proportional to the power of the laser.
The higher the thickness of material the less the laser can be able to penetrate and cut the material and vice-versa.
The thickness of sheet metal material that a laser can cut is 12mm Stainless Steels, 25mm Mild Steels and 10mm Aluminium.
Increase in the likelihood of cutting a certain material Increases with the increase in the laser power.
Sheet metal laser cutting process
- To get the job done the first step is to use the right type of laser cutting machine as several models are available in the market.
Before deciding on the model to buy consider proven features and specifications, power consumption and its cutting speed.
- Prepare wood material, plastic, cardboard, fabric materials, foam, and thin sheets of metal materials to cut.
- Choose an image to engrave or cut to your workpiece.
Choose a type of software which is compatible to the machine e.g. Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw and upload.
- To avoid improper cutting or engravement match the dimensions of the image with that of the material to be cut.
- To determine the cut quality place correctly the material to be cut on a perforated table inside the laser cabinet.
- Before each cutting process clean the lens of the machine gently using a cotton wool.
- Set the lens height to help focus the laser at the correct level using the machines automatic lens height sensor or button.
- During the cutting procedure, turn the switch fume extractor button ON to extract the fumes released.
Take the type of the material you want to cut and feed to the machine for material setting.
This helps in adjustment of laser intensity of machine like applying pressure intensely while cutting metal than when cutting wood or foam.
- Choose either vector print or raster cutting machine.
- Calibrate the machine and make the initial cut.
Check and analyze the cut quality and other specifications ensuring no movement of material during the cutting process.
Take the workpiece off the machine once the cutting is completed and is in par with the parameters set.
The end product of the material will have improved edge quality and surface finish.
Laser cutting cuts precise designs in sheet metal using a highly concentrated stream of photons.
While in traditional cutting e.g. waterjet cutting a high powered jet stream of water is normally mixed with an abrasive.
Abrasive like garnet powder are heat free and sensitive materials used to cut flat and large sheets without melting the product.
Traditional cutting is done manually compared to laser cutters which are programmed using Computer Aided Design (CAD).
Laser cuttings are automated as compared to traditional cutting which is mechanical.
With automatic feeder shuttle table for the metal sheet metal can run through the process without monitoring the machine constantly.
This allows large volume of work to be completed without attending to the machine overnight.
Laser cutting machine have a low melting point which melts under laser photon beam like brass and copper.
They melt when cutting plastics and wood burns unlike in traditional cutting which cuts a wide range of materials.
Traditional cutting use a band saw to cut tubes which is not possible in laser cutting.
Traditional cutting like lathes and milling machines are simple to use and cheap for basic shapes and high volume operations.
Laser end product has a beautiful finished look because of the melting properties of the laser to the end of the metal.
The cuts are precise, they are very straight with little to no errors advised for very tight tolerance projects.
While traditional cuttings have unfinished look in hard metal as they deform, create burrs on the edge of material being cut.
Laser cutting are cheap, they lower costs and the amount of material used due to its tight tolerance space.
Unlike in traditional cutting they cause no damage even in very thin sheets metal.
Laser cutting is versatile and very fast even in very hard and complex metals which is opposite to the traditional cutting.
Traditional cutting can cut through thick sheets unlike laser which can only cut most standard thicknesses.
Sheet metal laser cutting machine
Fibre Laser Cutting Machine
A cutting machine that uses optical fibre to create its laser is called a fibre laser cutting machine.
There will be no need for the laser to produce a higher energy output to cut the material.
This is because the laser is absorbed into the reflective materials that it is cutting hence making it an ideal laser cutter.
CO₂ Laser Cutting Machine
A laser cutter that is created through an electrical carbon dioxide mixture is called a CO₂ laser cutting machine.
Laser cutting machine is most suited on non-metals but is used on both metal and non-metal materials.
The machines mark, cut and engrave different types of materials like plastics and wood.
Crystal laser cutting machine
Crystal laser cutting machines are neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet and neodymium-doped yttrium ortho-vanadate.
Laser cutting machines are used in various applications in medical and manufacturing industries due to their extreme powerful nature.
For industries that work with a variety of materials, laser cutting machines are a great choice.
They mark, cut and engrave materials both metal groups and non-metal.
For any questions or inquiry about sheet metal laser cutting, contact us now.