A development that can be said to be incredible in every way is none other than "laser cutting technology". By casting out intense heat in an extremely thin stream, laser cutting enables welders and manufacturers to cut pieces of materials more customizable and components out of metals with the maximum exactitude.
Like many other technologies, laser cutting technology benefits from the improved sleekness and dependability of many contemporary machine elements. It's obvious that, like all other technologies, laser cutting is also an ever-developing area which means there is much more space for advancement.
Today, in this article, we will discuss laser cutting, its benefits, the metals that lasers can cut, and much more. Let's get started!
What Is Meant By Laser Cutting?
The first step of the laser-cutting process is projecting a focused beam. Here, the beam is focused until & unless its intensity is adequate enough for the work to be done, whether that is about cutting through different types of metal, cardboard, or human tissue.
Furthermore, a computer program guides the way for the laser itself and determines the pattern that the laser beam will have to cut. Once it starts up, the laser will continue to pursue the pre-programmed manual to finish its task.
The laser beam might move around, and its focal length can also vary, depending on the subject. This way, it can get to different depths and cut various layers of the subject. Regarding metals, this is most beneficial for methods known as laser engraving. In additional applications such as medicine, though, its precision enables it to cut medical equipment.
Laser cutting is completely an extraordinary technology. It lies in the conjunction of computers and the human footprint. Its applications are already widely in nature and have been of great use in each and every industry.
Benefits Of Laser Cutting
There are countless benefits when we talk about laser cutting. It's just not possible to write it down here. But here are some benefits that you will get to read in this section.
So, if you have to change in the middle of the production process, then it's very easy. There is nothing to worry about.
Also, suppose you find out at some juncture during the production process that you require more, less, or a slightly distinct variety of a product. In that case, laser cutters can veer around instantly and modify themselves to meet the criteria.
Processing is worthwhile and efficient as well. If you want to do considerable amounts of jobs at the same time, co-occur projects, or perform some other alternatives on the criterion, laser cutters can adjust to your request.
The most important benefit is that after the laser cutting process, there is no requirement to clean most of the materials. It's not like those types of processes that leave a pile of mess behind. No, it doesn't.
Laser technology is always progressing and evolving to be greener and more sustainable. Laser cutters are said to be energy-intensive, but they are coming to be largely more productive and effective. Plus, today, CO2-based lasers are getting replaced by fiber-optic lasers at a rapid speed.
What Metals Can a Laser Cut?
Speaking of laser technology, it can cut through numerous substances. Typically, lasers are utilized on types of metal such as mild steel, carbon steel, stainless steel, steel alloys and aluminium. Let's have a look at their detailed explanations:
a) Mild steel - Mild steel comes with a really low concentration of carbon compared to carbon steel.
b) Aluminum - Aluminum substances are helpful because they are much lighter than steel ones.
c) Stainless steel - Stainless steel adds insignificant proportions of chromium to develop resistance to eroding.
d) Carbon steel - Steel is a combination of carbon and iron. In carbon steel, the presence of carbon is a high percentage.
e) Various Other Steel Alloys - When it comes to alloyed steels, it is combined with one or multiple elements to give them an enhancement.
In expansion to these types of metals, lasers can be utilized to cut through several non-metallic substances, from ceramics to wood to plastic. Nonetheless, it most frequently gets utilized to cut different types of metals, particularly those named in the above sentences.
How To Cut Mild Steel: Tips To Get Started
Specific Factors Involved To Ensure The Precision Of Every Cut:
A) Conform To The Thickness Of The Material And The Laser Wattage
As you might know, a laser's wattage will thereafter authorize the thickness of the material, i.e. the mild steel you are prepared to cut. Plus, the speed at which you can cut the mild steel. For this, you should prioritize checking out the specifications of the laser cutting system. This will give you an idea about what thicknesses of mild steel can be cut through using different lasers. There might be some sort of variations, but the recommendations you get from the manufacturer give you a comprehensive solution.
B) Piercing The Mild Steel
One of the fundamental aspects of cutting mild steel is when the laser punctures the substance. You have to remember that while piercing the material, the settings of the laser cutting machine would be different. Similarly, during cutting, the settings would be different from the others.
C) The Laser Beam Should Be Clipped
The most prominent factor that must be considered while cutting mild steel is — the placement of the laser beam. The only motive here is to keep the laser beam aligned so it can clearly go through the center of the nozzle.
But, if the beam is not centered properly, the beam will be clipped by the nozzle. And you know what, a clipped beam can bring in all kinds of difficulty in cutting mild steel. At first, the power will get reduced, which will curb the beam from possessing adequate energy to pierce the subject. Besides, you will not be able to achieve precise and clean results. The mild steel would be left with messy edges and burrs.
D) Focus Point
If you want the mild steel to cut appropriately, place the copper nozzle at a distance of about "0.010-0.020" from the substance that must be cut. This way, the laser beam gets the perfect focal point to execute suitably. Also, this enables the assist gas to permeate into the cut, which leads to help remove the residue and gives you a neat & clean cut.
E) Don't Forget To Examine The Optics
A laser decked up with poor optics will not help you in any way to give a precise cut. Do scan the lenses and mirrors to ensure they are independent of any chaos.
F) Select Assist Gas For The Process
So, when you have to work on mild steel, you should opt for regular shop air or oxygen assistance. If you are working with mild steel much thicker, you should go for oxygen assistance with a meager PSI.
G) Power Settings
It's well-known that to pierce or cut mild steel, a CO2 laser takes a good amount of energy, but if too much heat is applied, the material will be left with burn marks. Therefore, you must remember that less heat is reasonably good for cutting mild steel.
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