Laser cutting machines have brought about efficiency and precision in the metal fabrication industry as compared to the days when mechanical cutting was the only available option. The machines can cut into materials of different strength and thickness without burr or dust formation; the high speed and automation that characterise this technology have increased production rates, reduced downtime, and led to the manufacture of high-quality products.
Whether you are buying or renting a laser cutting machine for your project, there are a few tips that can guide you into making the right choice for the best outcome of your metal cutting project.
The two most common types of laser cutting machines used to cut metal are carbon dioxide (CO2) and fiber laser machines.
CO2 laser cutting machine
CO2 laser cutting machines make use of carbon dioxide and nitrogen gases to generate the laser beam. The machine is ideal when cutting into thick metals as it can sustain the required cutting speed. In the case of fier laser cutting machines, the cutting speed is slower when using a thick metal. Also, the finished product is not as smooth as is when using CO2 laser cutters.
The downside of CO2 laser cutters is that they consume a lot of power compared to fiber laser cutters; therefore, you may end up incurring more for energy costs.
Fiber laser cutting machine
Fiber is one of the latest innovations in the laser cutting industry and is by far more energy and time efficient as compared to the use of CO2 cutting. Fiber laser cutting machines are usually ideal for thin metals if you want to achieve a smooth surface and excellent cutting speed. One of its advantages is the ability to cut into reflective metals such as aluminium, copper, and brass without back reflections and damage to the machine.
On the downside, fiber laser cutting is not efficient when used with thick metals; hence, it is not recommended.
Determine the speed of the machine
Laser cutting machines operate at different speeds, and you want to ensure that the one you choose is suited for your metal cutting speed requirements. High-speed cutting machines are always preferable as you can adjust the speed depending on the thickness of the metal for a smooth cut.
Choose the ideal power consumption
Laser cutting machines can be classified according to their wattage. High-wattage machines are ideal for laser cutting of stainless steel, aluminium, brass, and titanium among other metals. For thin metals, go for a machine with average wattage. Very low wattage is ideal for slightly thick and very thick metal cuttings.
Choosing a laser cutting machine for a DIY project can be a daunting task. If you are uncertain of your application requirements, your dealer can guide you into buying or renting the ideal machine for your metal cutting project.