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Exploring the Benefits of Laser Cutting Services for Custom Parts

Discover the advantages of laser cutting services for creating custom parts with exceptional precision. From simple to intricate designs, laser cutting technology offers unmatched accuracy and versatility for various materials and applications.

Understanding Laser Cutting Services

With the laser cutting services, you can get different kinds of products that need to be produced with laser cutting machines. So, you can make a wide variety of industrial graded products where laser cutting technology is utilized to cut and engrave into sheet metal.

When you want to create any custom part with exceptionally high accuracy, you need to opt for laser cutting technology. But certainly, it might seem impractical to invest in laser cutting tools for your target quantity of production.

 

Principle of Laser Cutting

The laser cutting technology utilizes a high intensive ray of light to cut the material. The laser cutting machine uses a laser beam with a single wavelength to generate such a high-intensity light ray. The manufacturers normally use a CO2 laser beam to get the job done.

The critical part of the laser cutting process is to focus the laser beam using the laser cutting head. Before focusing the beam, the light emitted from the laser resonator has a low intensity with a wide area. The laser cutting head is a sophisticated design mechanism that uses a variable reflection mechanism to guide the light ray towards a single pathway on a cervical lens. The cervical lens focuses the laser with a wide beam area into a single point.

This concentrated light beam generates extreme heat, which melts the surface of the material. When you shift the laser cutting head, this results to cut the material.laser cutting service 1

Advantages of Laser Cutting

Engineers mostly prefer to rely on laser cutting technologies to manufacture their parts in today’s manufacturing industries. There are so many advantages of laser cutting why people prefer it over other technologies. The common advantages include:

Lower Lead Time

You can use the same laser cutting head in a fixed configuration to work on uniformly thick material with laser cutting technology. That means you can perform cuts of various patterns and shapes without reconfiguring the settings or change the cutting tool for individual patterns. So, you don’t need to waste additional effort in the production cycle.

Cutting Speed:

Laser cutting techniques are faster than mechanical cutting techniques. The laser cutting technology is comparatively faster due to the way you can operate the cutting process. Especially if you want to make complicated pattern cuts, the mechanical cutting methods take longer to adjust with edges and finish.

Complicated/Intricate Design Pattern

The mechanical cutting methods need to make several adjustments. The laser cutting machine has a unique way of performing cutting operations. With the typical cutting methods, you cannot perform highly complex intricate patterns. So, using laser cutting technologies, you can easily perform cutting operations with designs involved with complex geometries.Laser Cutting Process For Complex Geometries

No Distortion Or Warping Effect On Thin Materials

For many cutting technologies on complex geometries, there is a common complaint about the post-cutting effect. Sometimes the material experiences warping and distortion after the cutting, especially on very thin material sections. With the laser cutting method, you can avoid such problems.

Versatility In Material Selection:

One huge advantage of laser cutting technology is that you can work on many different materials. Using the gas laser cutter, you can cut any non-metal type of material. For working on any kind of material, including metal or non-metal based, you can use crystal laser cutting or fiber laser cutting method.

Downsides Of Laser Cutting

Like every other process, even the laser cutting method also has some limitations and downsides. Here are some of them:

Limitation In Metal Thickness:

There is a limitation to how thick of metal sheet you can choose for cutting with the laser cutting machine. The emitted concentrated laser beam from the laser cutting head is configured so that you can penetrate and cut the metal sheet with an average thickness of 0.1 to 20mm.. Some laser configurations will help you penetrate deeper into some material, but that doesn’t extend too far. Comparatively, with other thermal cutting techniques, you can penetrate much deeper.

Costs:

The laser cutting machines are more expensive than other thermal cutting machines. The manufacturers are unable to supply them at lower costs due. But if you consider the other beneficial facts, it makes up for the initial investment.

Highly Skilled And Experienced Workforce:

The laser cutting machines can provide cutting opportunities to ensure the complexity of the design and accuracy of the design. An average level of the operator will not be able to perform such critical tasks. You have to make sure that you employ someone with high skills and expertise in the relevant sector. This will increase your machine running budget.

Toxic Gas emission:

During the laser cutting procedure, the surface material from the sheet gets evaporated. This evaporated gas gets distributed in the surrounding environment. This gas is extremely dangerous for human inhalation and could cause serious effects. So, the operators maintain a safe distance from the direct cutting area and use suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep themselves safe.laser cutting service 2

Compare CNC With Laser Cutting

CNC and laser turning are both material cutting tools. Each process has its unique advantages for specific types of operation. So, you cannot say whether CNC or laser cutting methods are better in every aspect. Based on the type of cutting work and other factors, you have to determine which one is better for you. So, let us take a look at some of those factors:

The Difference In The Cutting Process:

Let us first focus on the operation procedure for both types to get a clear view. The CNC cutting method uses mechanical tools to perform the cutting operation. The mechanical cutting tool is run by computer numerical control to rotate at very high RPM during operation. When the tool is lowered, it makes physical contact with the material you are working on. It generates a high frictional force at the contact surface. So, small material particles are eroded to continue the cutting.

The laser cutting tool is run by computer numerical control, but you don’t need any mechanical tool. The very high-intensity laser ray is focused on the point of cutting, which melts and evaporates the particles to perform the cutting. That means the laser cutting method is thermal.

CNC Cutting process

Cost Of Operation:

It is a well-known fact and undeniable information that laser methods are costly. This is primarily due to the high cost of laser cutting machines. Comparatively, with CNC cutting, you can perform cutting operations at very low costs. This is why CNC machining is extremely popular for different types of industries.

Quality Of Cutting Edges:

The laser cutting method is unique because it uses a high-intensity light beam. Due to the uniqueness in the cutting method, you can get sharp cutting edges. This results in cleaner and sealed edges. 

But this will also leave a fine trail of burning spots at the edges, especially when cutting plywood. Comparatively, the CNC cutting method uses a mechanical cutting method that leaves a slightly dull edge, but it will not leave a burning mark.

laser cutting edge

The simplicity of cutting operation:

CNC cutting methods are excellent for performing simple straights, diagonal, cervical, and simple cuts. This is advantageous, especially if you are working on wood-based material.

Creative and complex design patterns:

To perform cut works on highly complex patterns, the laser cutting method should be the best option. Because with CNC cutting methods, you cannot perform neat operations on complex designs. There is always a risk of material wastage.

Thickness Of Material:

With laser cutting, you can only perform work on thin sheets of material. Comparatively, with CNC cutting, you can perform cutting operations on deeper materials. So, you can easily work following three-dimensional geometries.

Which One Is Better:

Now that all the relevant factors are discussed, we can vote for a better cutting method. We can simply say that if you want to perform cuts for simpler designs that don’t require extremely high-quality finishing on thicker materials and also with a low-cost investment, then CNC cutting should be the better choice for you.

Comparatively, if you are ready to sacrifice the extra cost to get a high-quality finishing on a complex-designed workpiece, the laser cutting method should be your better choice.

Cost Consideration of Laser Cutting Services

There is a significant margin difference between the laser cutting service compared to service involved with other cutting methods. There are few reasons why laser cutting services are expensive.

The main reason behind these high prices is initial costs. The cost of each laser cutting machine is very expensive. So, the service providers need to charge extra to suit their investment and effort. This alone changes the complete equation of how high the cost should be to avail of the service.

There are other factors as well. You may generally opt for laser cutting services if you target high-quality finished products. To create such high-quality finishing with laser cutting machines, the service providers need to maintain a highly skilled and experienced workforce to deliver the quality they want to supply. Surely that doesn’t come at low costs.

Moreover, for availing of laser cutting services, you may use two modes to get the quotation. The calculation is mostly done based on how much time the laser cutting machine needs to work to get the job done. Another calculation is based on the target surface area you want to operate.

If you calculate based on the techniques, you can find that the final cost is more expensive than other cutting services. But there is a term that says, “You get what you pay for.” You may need to sacrifice a higher investment for laser cutting services, but you will get the best quality for the product you are paying for.laser cutting service 3

Materials You Can Choose For Laser Cutting Services

For your laser cutting services, you can choose from more than 200 types of materials. The common materials include:
  • Acrylic (clear)
  • Brass (with low hardness)
  • Acrylic (colored)
  • Silicone
  • Polyurethane foam
  • Aluminum
  • Stainless steel
  • Plywood
  • The polarizing film, etc.
But there are some materials that you must avoid for laser cutting. The common ones are PVC materials, HDPE plastic, polypropylene foam, polystyrene foam, fiberglass, coated carbon fiber, etc.

The Minimum Or Maximum Size Of The Part That You Can Choose For Laser Cutting Services

On average, the laser cutting service providers can perform laser cutting operations for larger parts with a maximum dimensional length of 760 mm to 850 mm. For the width, the maximum size is average around 360 mm to 400 mm.

For small parts, the minimum dimension is around 5 mm to 7 mm on each side. The minimum or maximum size options may vary from one service provider to another, depending on the laser cutting machine. laser cutting service 4

Materials Thickness Limitation For Laser Cutting Service

There is a limit in material thickness that you can choose for the laser cutting operations. The upper limit ranges between 18 mm to 25 mm. The lower range of thickness varies from around ±0.1 mm to ±0.25 mm. Again, all these vary from one manufacturer to another.

Accuracy of Laser Cutting Service

The accuracy of laser cutting services depends on the method of laser cutting used to perform the cutting operations. The gas laser cutters will give you the least accuracy. The crystal laser cutting method can give you better accuracy. But if you are looking for the highest accuracy, you should opt for a fiber laser cutter.

Since most laser cutting service providers use gas laser cutting, they can offer a dimensional accuracy of ±0.12 mm to ±0.18 mm. On average, you can expect a kerf diameter of 0 mm to 0.24 mm.laser cutting service 5

Choose The Right Laser Cutting Service

In choosing a laser cutting service, consider experience first; meaning that the provider should own an impressive reputation and necessary qualifications concerning dealing with your project’s specific materials. Check their technological capabilities, accuracy levels, and design support customization. Quality assurance is evaluated based on lead times, cost comparison and value for money. Besides, assess customer service supportiveness of their location for logistics and industry standards compliance through certification. After carefully analyzing these aspects, you can trust a laser cutting service that suits your project needs accurately and perfectly.

Considerations When Custom Laser Cutting Parts

Custom laser cutting parts involves several thoughtful considerations which must be in place before the process of customization begin so as to achieve accuracy and success. It starts by identifying appropriate materials such as metals, plastics, wood and fabrics that would match the job to be done too; better still make sure their thickness is within specifications of the laser cutting machine. Clean cuts require vector-based design files submitted in DXF or AI format, and discussion about tolerance necessities is an insight towards proper fit.

The second set of factors includes setting the cutting speed and power in relation to the types or kinds’ properties, cost implications need clarification for upper level management decision makers as well as proper utilization nesting that minimizes any waste generated thereby reduces possible amounts spent. Prototyping helps in identifying issues, and some materials might require maskings as protections. Even details regarding the post-processing considerations, like deburring and surface treatments as well as coordinating production volume with that of the service provider’s lead time should be addressed. laser cutting service 8

Conclusion

Laser cutting applications were primary used for industrial purposes. But the use of laser cutting technology has significantly increased due to the flexibility of order offered by laser cutting services. The services are also now more affordable and available. This is now making a significant impact that hobbyists, entrepreneurs, and startup businesses are availing of laser cutting services.

The versatility of material usage, fine precision, and accuracy, ability to perform complex designs, and other helpful features provided by laser cutting services are welcomed among all kinds of manufacturers. So, the demand to avail of laser cutting services is increasing every day.

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