Cutting, welding, and other metallurgical procedures are now possible, thanks to modern technology. This technology has evolved to the point that lasers can now cut metal with ease. Simply put, laser cutting of metals is the remolding of the shape of metals through the use of fitting lasers.
“LASER” is an acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” This was coined in the English-speaking world as a common acronym we use all the time. The laser is nothing more than a light oscillator that can focus on a point with a diameter of less than 1 mm.
The thermal material cutting technique uses a laser source which creates a laser beam. The cutter head of the machine focuses on a spot of extremely tiny diameter and cuts through metal. Let’s take a closer look!
How does laser cutting of metal work?
Laser cutting is a thermal process that begins with a laser beam that is heated and focused with a density varied approximately 104 Wmm-2 in conjunction with gas (active or inert). The laser beam melts the metal being sliced, and the current of the gas evaporates the liquefied metal.
The first step in laser metal cutting is to drill a hole in the metal, which can take up to 15 seconds depending on the metal thickness. During the laser cutting operation, the laser beam is parallel to a thickness of 1.5 to 12.5 mm.
The laser beam is formed by electrical discharges or lamps inside a confined container stimulating lasing materials. The lasing material is amplified by being internally reflected via a partial mirror until it has enough energy to emerge as a stream of coherent monochromatic light. Mirrors or fiber optics guide the beam through a lens, which intensifies it, and focus it on the work area. One of the many types of laser cutting is laser metal cutting.
Why Laser Cutting of Metal is Sometimes Difficult
Although technology has made it relatively easier to cut metals through the use of lasers, there are still certain challenges the operators of this machine experience. There are a few typical problems with metal laser cutting that operators should be aware of:
- Drilling: Lasers can cut and create tiny holes very fast; however, it is not as safe as other approaches. While lasers may drill holes quickly, a blowout can happen during the operation. Blowouts are more likely to occur when the hole diameter is tiny in comparison to the material thickness.
- Equipment complication: Even though laser cutting makes precise cuts, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure the cut’s correctness. Problems may emerge as a result of equipment malfunctions, such as table vibration, auxiliary gas, or power output, or as a result of poor material physical and chemical qualities.
- The mixture of materials: The material composition of laser processing plays a huge impact on the outcome, more than other processing methods. Improper mixing of the materials that aid the laser machine functioning could cause the machine to develop fault.
- Thickness: The thicker the material, the more difficult it is to cut with a laser. Cutting metal less than 20mm thick has a substantial advantage. However, as the material thickens, the cut’s efficiency declines. When cutting thick materials, the risk of a blowout or thermal runaway increases, potentially harming the laser machine.
- Operation duration: When cutting metals, the setup period for a laser is very important. In other words, the laser machine must work within a specific period of time otherwise the machine might develop faults. The machine components are so crucial to the machine functioning and if they are overworked, they could fail ultimately resulting in the machine failure.
If you live in Oxnard, CA and you are looking to repair or upgrade your laser cutting machine, Laserworx Manufacturing is the right choice for you! We serve Oxnard clients and surrounding towns including Manitowoc and Sturgeon Bay.
We tackle all tasks including:
- 4130 Chromoly Space Frames
- 5062, 6061 Aluminum Tanks and Industrial Structures
- Sheet Metal Prototype and Production Parts
- Automotive Motorsports Applications
- Industrial and Structural Projects
- And Everything In-Between!