What Materials Can Be Cut Using A Laser Cutting Machine?
Tooling 2000 | 21st September 2020
Five-Axis Laser Cutting Machine
Laser cutting has revolutionized production in many industries. The ability to make quick, precise cuts to a range of materials has increased the speed and quality of production and allowed certain materials to finally be used in the production process.
While many people think of the large industrial uses of laser cutting in industries such as the car industry or aerospace industry, the fact is that there are many materials that can be cut with a laser. It’s not just large-scale items either, laser and 3d laser cutting machines are becoming more and more popular with crafters, who use them to create homemade items.
So, what materials can you use on a laser cutting machine?
When most people think of laser cutting in an industrial setting, they probably think of metal cutting. Most kinds of metal can be cut with a laser cutter. Steel and iron are the most popular metals cut in this way.
The thickness of the metal will depend on the size of the laser cutter, but some can work with thicknesses of up to 30mm.
Arguably one of the biggest advantages of laser cutting is its versatility. Laser cutters can be used to cut nearly all materials including different types of metals, MDF, wood, acrylic and much more. A laser cutter is also able to cut these different materials through varying thicknesses.
Also, as discussed before, laser cutting can fulfil any design specification, from small and delicate to the larger, more complex designs. 3D laser cutting, better known as five-axis laser cutting gives you this type of versatility. This is thanks to its ability to cut through materials and components across three dimensions, allowing the fabrication of these complex parts with speed and accuracy.
Many types of wood can be cut successfully with a laser cutter, including composite materials like plywood and MDF. There are some circumstances in which you should not cut wood, for instance, if they are impregnated with resin or other oils. The heat from the laser could pose a danger of the material catching fire.
While not easy, you can cut glass with a laser cutter. However, the reflective nature of the material means that it should only be done by experienced operators with powerful cooling systems on their machines.
Cardboard and Paper
As mentioned earlier, you can now buy laser cutters for your home if you have an interest in crafts. They are able to perform intricate designs on paper and cardboard, which you can often find on cards and invitations.
What Materials Can’t Be Cut on A Laser Cutter?
The large amount of heat generated by a laser cutter makes it unsuitable for cutting certain materials. In some cases, the composition of the materials themselves make them poor laser cutting materials due to the risk of fire or toxic fumes.
Polystyrene - Using a laser on this material will cause it to catch fire.
Fibreglass - This material is made up of glass and an epoxy resin, which will produce toxic fumes when cut with a laser.
Polycarbonate - Unless the material is very thin, polycarbonate should be cut using another method. It is difficult to get a good finish on this material as it will absorb the energy and discolour badly.
HDPE and ABS - The heat from the laser cutter causes these materials to melt very easily, meaning that you are unable to get any kind of clean edge. It will also make a mess of your laser cutting machine.
PVC - There is a high level of toxic fumes released from PVC when cut with a laser; you shouldn’t use a laser cutter to cut PVC of any kind.
Get in Touch Today
Tooling 2000 has over twenty-four years of experience working within the laser cutting industry. If you are interested in finding out more about laser cutting? Get in touch today and speak to a member of the Tooling 2000 team today on 121 242 2000 or send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
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