The Four Main Methods of Laser Cutting
Laser cutting is a very efficient and accurate method of cutting metal to your specifications. There are several ways of doing this, although all of them involve using a highly focused laser to cut the metal.
This first type of laser cutting uses the laser to partially melt the piece of metal in order to cut it. The laser is used alongside an inert gas that forces the molten metal away from the rest of the sheet, leaving a clean cut in the shape that you want it. One advantage of this method is that it is a very quick method of shaping the metal. It also does not require as much energy as other methods, so it is an efficient way of cutting.
Vaporisation cutting uses a much more powerful laser that heats the metal to a far higher temperature. The result is that the metal does not just melt but boils away altogether. This is a more specialised method that tends to be used for particular materials, as it uses too much energy when fusion cutting is suitable. Many materials cannot be cut in this way anyway as they cannot be vaporised at a low enough temperature.
The third method of laser cutting is for materials that are susceptible to heat damage and so are not suitable for the first two methods. In this method, the laser heats up a small area of the material until it cracks. This sounds drastic, but in fact, the laser can direct the crack in exactly the right shape and direction. The result is therefore a useful method of cutting very brittle materials that would be prone to cracking anyway.
Oxidation Melting Cutting
This last method of laser cutting is similar to fusion cutting as it melts the edge of the material. However, instead of using an inert gas, it uses oxygen. This heats the metal even further and is a much faster method of cutting. The downside is that the edges can be a bit rougher and of a lower quality than other methods. It is therefore not suitable for cutting where high levels of precision and accuracy are needed.
Whatever your project, your laser cutting service will help you decide which method to use and answer any further questions you have. You can be assured that the result will be a cut that is accurate and suitable for your requirements.