Laser cutting metal is becoming more and more accessible. Check out this simple guide to design your first laser cut metal part.
In short, a laser is a focused beam of light, concentrating a lot of energy on a very small area. When this happens, material in front of a laser will burn, melt, or vaporize, making a hole. Add some CNC to that, and you get a machine that can cut or engrave very intricate parts made of wood, plastic, rubber, metal, foam, or other materials.
Every material has its limitations and benefits when comes to a laser cutting. For instance, you may think that a laser can cut through anything, but that’s simply not the case.
Not every material is suitable for laser cutting. That’s because every material requires a particular amount of energy to be cut. For example, the energy needed to cut through paper is a lot less than the energy needed for a 20-mm thick steel plate.
Keep this in mind when buying a laser or ordering through a laser cutting service. Always check the laser’s power or at least what materials it can cut.
As a reference, a 40-W laser can cut through paper, cardboard, foam, and thin plastic, while a 300-W laser can cut through thin steel and thick...