Profile cutting has a wide range of purposes — from creating machined shapes with a high level of precision, to something as straightforward as engraving a company name or serial number. Profile cutting can be achieved by using several kinds of cutting mechanisms, and common examples that ShapeCUT uses include plasma cutting, oxy-fuel cutting, water cutting and laser-cutting mechanisms. Each kind has its own advantages, and ShapeCUT will happily make a recommendation based on the information you provide.
Plasma cutting is particularly robust; it is capable of slicing through electrically conductive materials by firing a stream of hot plasma. Plasma cutting machines can cleanly and accurately cut aluminium galvanise sheets, stainless steel, brass, zinc, and copper (to name just a few).
Oxy-fuel cutting is a relatively inexpensive method for precisely cutting two-dimensional objects. Oxy-fuel welding, in simple terms, heats up the object it intends to cut to what is known as kindling temperature. Similar to kindling that is sometimes used to start a fire (especially in areas where a convenient ignition source is not readily available), the kindling point of a given object is the lowest temperature at which the object will spontaneously ignite under normal atmospheric conditions (without the use of an external ignition source).
Laser cutting is a very reliable method for making precise cuts. Laser cutting at high energy levels can be exceptionally powerful. In about 5 to 15 seconds, a laser cutter can fire and cut through a 13-millimetre sheet of stainless steel. Laser cutting is so powerful that it was originally designed to drill holes in diamond dies.
Finally, there is the waterjet cutter, which has one particularly unique property that can make it an ideal candidate for certain cutting tasks; namely, its ability to cut through material without damaging or compromising the inherent structure of the material being cut, since there is no heat-affected zone (HAZ) when using this technique. They are also extremely accurate and are capable of cutting with accuracy as precise as 0.13 mm.