Common challenges when laser cutting

Laser cutting is a technology that focuses the output of a high-powered laser to cut and/or engrave materials, such as plastic, wood and metal. Laser cutting is used predominantly for industrial manufacturing, but is becoming more prevalent in other industries, as well as in schools. While laser cutting is an effective way to engrave and cut materials, like all endeavours, it comes with its own unique set of challenges.

Difficulty cutting thick materials

The thicker the material, the less effective laser cutting becomes. For example, when it comes to cutting thick sheets of carbon steel, you may find that laser cutting is difficult. Furthermore, the thicker the material, the more chance there is experiencing blowout or thermal runaway. If you are having difficulty cutting a material, you may be able to improve results by further focusing the beam and reducing spot size to transform the laser into a sharper cutting tool.

Uneven cutting results

It is important to note that different part geometries are affected differently by laser cutting. For example, small areas or corners of parts tend to absorb more heat and make it more difficult to maintain consistent cutting speeds. The more complicated the part geometry, the less accurate your cutting will be. It is a good idea to speed up the laser when you are cutting curves and corners to avoid overheating.

Combustion affecting cutting results

Laser cutting is extremely sensitive to material quality, more so than other metal cutting processes. Your finish is largely determined by the quality of your steel. Ideally you want steel that is clean, oil-free and comprised of only a few elements. Carbon steel, for example, is comprised of a range of different elements, each with different melting points. Each element causes a different reaction when it comes into contact with the laser. A consistent material composition will result in a cleaner cut. That is why we only stock premium steel plates and have the largest range of stocked steel plates on the market.

At ShapeCUT we man the workshop from 6am to midnight to ensure a quick turnaround. If you require professional laser cutting or other metal cutting services, contact ShapeCUT today.