Everything you need to know about laser cutting

Steel cutting can be a daunting venture for novices. Differentiating between the forms of steel cutting and what is best suited to a project can be overwhelming. If a novice is looking to slice, cut or trim materials, the popular technique of laser cutting may be best suited for the project.Growing in popularity, laser cutting uses a CAD file to cut a design from a given material and is gaining traction in small businesses, schools and specialised engineering firms.

The high-powered laser is most commonly directed through optics. The laser beam is focused onto the material and follows a CNC or G-code to burn, melt, vaporise or be blown away by a jet of gas. Laser cutting results in some of the highest quality surface edge finishes.

The lasers in laser cutting come in 3 forms. The CO2 laser is suited to boring and engraving. The neodymium (Nd) is suited for low repetition boring and the Nd-YAG laser is commonly used in welding and where very high power is required.

There are 4 main types of laser cutting:

1. Thermal stress cracking

This is best suited to brittle materials such as glass. The focused beam localises thermal heating and expansion.

2. Melt and blow

Also termed ‘fusion cutting’, this technique uses high-pressure gas to blow away molten materials. Metals are typically laser cut in this fashion.

3. Flame cutting

This process is ideal for carbon steel with a thickness over 1 mm.

4. Vaporisation cutting

Vaporisation cutting uses extreme heat to generate a key hole cut. This method is ideally suited to materials that do not melt such as carbon or wood.

Laser cutters can be used to make jewellery, home accessories and are often used in large manufacturing jobs.

At ShapeCUT, we specialise in high-quality laser cutting and our contemporary, multifunction laser cutting machines has a low set-up time. As one of the best steel cutters in Brisbane, our expertise in the field allows us to easily coordinate or offer advice on projects. For all your laser cutting needs, contact us today.