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Laser Cutting In Metal Fabrication

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  • 07-11-2023
Laser Cutting In Metal Fabrication

This article explores laser cutting in metal fabrication. Learn about the types of lasers used, the materials compatible with laser cutting.

 What Is Laser Cutting?

Laser cutting refers to a widely used technique in metal fabrication. Known for its precision and efficiency, this method uses a concentrated laser beam to cut materials; paving the way for fabricators to create impressive pieces with remarkable accuracy.  The laser itself is a computer-controlled instrument that projects a beam of light that can break through even the most resilient metals.

This allows fabricators to cut intricate patterns, logos, and designs into materials with precision and consistency. The most common materials a laser cutter uses include stainless steel, mild steel, brass, copper, and aluminium. Laser cutting brings an element of accuracy and speed that other traditional metal cutting methods can't compete with; this modern technique gives fabricators a unique advantage in the metal fabricating industry.

 How Does Laser Cutting Work?

Laser cutting is an advanced, non-contact method used in metal fabrication that makes use of a high-intensity laser beam to cut through materials. This technique is popular for its capacity to generate high-quality, precise designs.

By its definition, laser cutting involves a high-powered laser beam that burns, melts or evaporates materials into specific shapes or designs - the process of laser cutting is initiated by steering the laser beam through a nozzle directed at the chosen material.

When the material's surface is struck, the laser moves the heat to create the desired shape or pattern. Despite its complexity, laser cutting is power-intensive enough to cut through many kinds of materials - both metal and non-metal - no matter their thickness.

Laser Cutting In Metal Fabrication | Steel Fabrication Kent

Unlike other techniques which need bulky machinery that exerts strain on the metal or material, laser cutting executes the task without making direct contact; meaning it's highly efficient as well as durable in the metal fabrication industry. There are four main types of lasers used in laser cutting: CO2 lasers, neodymium lasers (Nd), neodymium yttrium-aluminium-garnet lasers (Nd: YAG), and fibre lasers.

While fibre lasers are great for many reasons, CO2 lasers also continue to play a key role in the laser cutting process. When laser cutting first started out, CO2 lasers were the standard; they're produced in a gas concoction mainly comprising carbon dioxide (CO2), helium, and nitrogen. However, laser cutting isn't the only method used in metal fabrication. CNC cutting and laser cutting are both commonly used and highly effective fabrication procedures - nonetheless, each has unique characteristics, differences and benefits.

For example, compared to CNC cutting, laser cutting works faster, providing a quicker and easier way to cut thicker material in a single action. Another advantage of laser cutting over traditional methods is its advanced precision capabilities, as it allows users to design curves and corners with precision - a feature that wasn't easily achievable with conventional metal cutting techniques. 

 Advantages Of Using Laser Cutting

Using laser cutting for metal fabrication has risen in popularity due to the range of benefits it provides over traditional methods. The biggest advantage of laser cutting is its accuracy - this cutting-edge technique can intricately slice through a range of complicated designs; resulting in a product that has a higher level of quality.

In contrast to conventional cutting processes, the functionality and effectiveness of laser cutting don't change when dealing with tough or thick materials - instead, it consistently provides a quick and easy cutting process.

This significantly decreases the total time taken on projects; thereby boosting productivity. Another key factor of laser cutting is that it's a non-contact procedure, meaning there's no physical interaction with the material being cut. 

This substantially minimises the wear and tear afflicting tools, which in turn, reduces maintenance costs - saving both time and money. In conclusion, laser cutting is a more precise, efficient, and cost-effective method for metal fabrication, making it an excellent choice for modern manufacturing.

 Laser Cutting & Interior Design Features

The use of laser cutting has become a preferred choice in the world of interior design due to its remarkable precision and versatility. This innovative cutting technique can create intricate patterns and designs; making it perfect for creating personalised aesthetic features or practical items for a home.

Whether it's for crafting bespoke appliances, stairs or ornamental pieces, laser cutting brings an unrivalled uniqueness to the design.

This is because lasers can smoothly cut through an extensive variety of materials with absolute precision; the capability of these lasers to cut accurately with precise details makes them the ideal tool for crafting one-of-a-kind design elements.

These personalised elements can revolutionise an interior space, making it more visually appealing and boosting its appeal. Therefore, laser cutting not only fulfils any functional requirements but also enhances aesthetic value and overall appeal on the market - making it a desired feature in interior design.

Laser Cutting & Interior Design Features

 The History Of Laser Cutting

Laser cutting is a highly prized technology in the metal fabrication industry. It uses a precise laser beam to tailor a variety of materials into specific shapes and configurations. 

Aside from metals like aluminium and stainless steel, it can also be used with materials like glass, plastic, wood, and superalloys, making it highly versatile. The appeal of laser cutting lies in its precision and efficiency, especially when dealing with intricately designed projects. The modern technique of laser cutting came from the invention of the CO2 laser by Kumar Patel in 1964.

However, the seeds of this technology can be traced back further to 1917 when Einstein predicted the phenomenon of stimulated emission, a crucial foundation for laser configuration. Though Patel did not invent the concept of the laser and nor was he the first to create one, his continuous high-power radiation CO2 laser was an industry game-changer.

Its cost-efficient and effective design made it the standout choice for industrial lasers; gaining popularity thanks to the technological development spurred by Patel's innovation. Not long after Patel's breakthrough, in 1967 Peter Houldcroft advanced the technology further. He created a novel nozzle and utilised an oxygen-assisted CO2 laser to cut through steel sheets as thick as 2.5 mm at a pace nearing 1m/min.

Notably, while the original CO2 laser's power output was only a modest one milliwatt, Houldcroft's laser reached a powerful output of 800 watts. 

Following these successful adaptations, businesses across the globe embraced laser-cutting technology, heralding an era of continued innovation and broadening the scope of laser-based industrial machining. Therefore, the advancements in laser cutting have proven themselves to be imperative regarding the progression and success of the metal fabrication industry today.

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