How to choose the right laser power wattage to cut steel

Table of Contents

Laser cutting is to use the laser cutting head to focus the laser beam on the material surface to melt the material, while blowing away the melted material with the compressed gas coaxial to the laser beam, and make the laser beam and the material along a certain trajectory for relative motion, so as to form a certain shape of the cut.  Laser cut steel perfomance is depend on the laser power, and how to choose the right laser power to cut steel? Here are some recommendtion to judge the laser wattage to cut steel.

In the laser cutting process, the output laser power to cut steel directly affects the melting ability of the processed metal. In order to achieve better cutting effect, the output of the steel cutter laser power needs to be increased for the requirement of improving the processing ability.

So, how do we determine whether the laser power for cutting steel is appropriate?

Generally we can judge laser wattage to cut steel by two methods.

(1) Observe the section after cutting.

(2) Observe the spark situation during the cutting process.

 Cutting section situation

Take the most common carbon steel cutting as an example, when the laser power is appropriate, the cutting surface wave marks are relatively delicate, the spacing between the wave marks is relatively small, the lower part of the cutting surface relative to the cutting direction of travel shows a slight lag.

When the laser power to cut steel is overload, the cutting surface wave marks are straight up and down, and the spacing between the wave marks will also become larger.

When the laser wattage to cut steel is insufficient, the lower part of the cutting surface will become very rough, hanging slag and difficult to remove, and further reduce the output power, the material will not cut through.

laser power to cut steel

Normal Power

Power Overload

Power Insufficient

Cutting sparks

The sparks sputtered from below the cutting steel are affected by the fluidity of the molten metal in the cut, so it can reflect to a certain extent whether the laser power wattage is appropriate.

If the sparks are straight, slightly lagging behind the cutting direction of travel, indicating that the laser power to cut steel is more appropriate.

If the spark has a diffuse shape or is ahead of the cutting direction, the laser power to cut steel is not set properly.

The following needs to improve processing capacity can be achieved by increasing the output of laser power for cutting steel.

Laser Direction

Laser Beam

Laser Beam

  • Cutting speed is too slow, want to speed up the cutting speed

Such as the same with oxygen cutting 5mm carbon steel plate, with 1KW, 2KW, 3KW laser power for cutting steel, the speed of 1.4m/min, 1.8m/min, 2.5m/min respectively.

  • The thickness of the material to be cut is thick

Such as cutting carbon steel plate, the limit of cutting, 1KW can cut 12mm, 2KW laser power for cutting steel can cut 20mm, 3KW can cut 25mm.

  • Cutting gold, silver, copper, aluminum and other highly reflective materials.

Such as in the case of extreme cutting, with 3KW laser wattage can cut 25mm thickness of carbon steel, but can only cut 8mm thickness of aluminum; want to cut the same 25mm thickness of aluminum, you need to increase the power to 8KW.

Observation of the cut section and the sparking situation during the cutting process are two important bases for judging whether thelaser power for cutting steel is appropriate. After understanding these, the laser power can be adjusted reasonably according to these in the future laser cutting process.

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