A laser is used in the technique of “laser cutting,” which can be used for both practical and creative purposes like etching. A laser cutter is an excellent instrument for cutting complex designs out of metal or wood. Laser cutting employs a powerful laser that is guided by computer numerical control (CNC) and optics to cut material.
Usually, a motion control system is used in the process to adhere to a CNC or G-code of the design that needs to be cut onto the material. To leave a high-quality surface completed edge, the focused laser beam burns, melts, vaporizes, or is blasted away by a jet of gas.
Different kinds of laser cutters exist. While non-metal lasers utilize a bigger beam to cut thicker materials, metal laser cutters employ a thinner beam to cut material. The type of gas used distinguishes the two machines.
Additional settings and CO2 protection are needed for metal laser cutting. A tidy, dry shop setting is necessary for metal laser cutters to cut efficiently. Because CO2 laser beams move more slowly than fiber lasers, they are slower.
Furthermore, to retain their excellent performance, CO2 lasers need routine cleaning and maintenance. Furthermore, because their beam delivery mechanisms are exposed, CO2 lasers experience larger amounts of mass variation.
The type of laser source is the primary distinction between metal and non-metal laser cutting devices. While fiber lasers deliver the beam via optical fibers, CO2 lasers utilize gas to produce an intense beam. For precision metal and non-metal cutting, fiber lasers’ higher beam intensities are required.
Furthermore, modifications for fiber laser systems are less frequent than for CO2 laser systems. These machines can generate three to four times as many components per hour compared to CO2 lasers and can operate with a variety of materials.
Most steel varieties, including high-speed tool steel, hot work die steel containing tungsten, and titanium can be cut with metal laser cutters. Additionally, it is employed to cut highly reflective materials like copper and brass. Galvanized sheet and nickel alloys can both be processed using high-power metal lasers.
The cut quality of a metal or non-metal laser cutter can be impacted by the depth of focus. The cutting edge diverges and widens toward the top or bottom when the focus is too shallow. As a result, there are various quality cuts. Vertical cutting edges on a competent laser cutter should be at least 10mm deep.
A metal or non-metal laser cutter’s depth of focus needs to be optimized for a variety of reasons. Smaller kerf widths and focused heating are made possible, which lessens the impact of thermal deformation on the majority of the material. Additionally, it lessens the chance of material contamination and mechanical distortion. The concentrated beam reduces the amount of material eliminated as well.
Nitrogen and carbon dioxide gas are excited in the cavity to create the CO2 laser, which subsequently beams the light through the mirror. The CO2 metal cutting machine’s working format is constrained and cannot be processed in a big working area since the mirrors must be set within a specific distance.
Fiber lasers use pliable fiber optic wires to transfer the laser beam after producing it using diode pumping. Pumping several diodes produces a laser beam in fiber laser systems. It then makes its way to the laser cutting head through a flexible fiber-optic connection and a mirror.
A fiber laser source can even be put close to the plasma cutting head of the plasma cutting table, extending the working area of fiber laser cutting equipment. Additionally, compared to CO2 laser sources of the same strength, fiber laser sources are more portable and take up less space.
The fiber laser cutting system consists of a single-design fiber laser cutting system and a solid-state digital module, and the fiber laser is used to complete both of these systems. The actual utilization of each power unit of the CO2 reduction system is between 8% and 10%.
Users can anticipate greater power efficiency for fiber laser cutting systems, ranging from 25% to 30%. In other words, fiber-cutting systems use three to five times as much energy as CO2-cutting systems, resulting in an increase in the energy efficiency of more than 86%.
The best fiber laser cutters can cut reflective materials like brass and aluminum thanks to their short-wave properties. The focusing spot of the fiber laser is smaller than that of the CO2 laser because the fiber laser has a wavelength of 1.06 m, and the CO2 laser has a wavelength of 9.3 m to 10.6 m.
Since the focus and depth of penetration increase with increasing beam concentration, the fiber laser cutting machine Materials with a thinner or medium thickness can be sliced more effectively. The 1500w fiber laser cutting machine’s cutting speed when working with material up to 6mm is equivalent to that of the 3kW CO2 metal laser cutting machine. Customers are drawn to fiber laser cutting equipment for a variety of reasons, including increased output and decreased commercial expenses.
The fiber laser cutting device is easier to maintain and more ecologically friendly. For instance, mirrors need frequent maintenance and calibration, CO2 laser systems need routine maintenance, and resonators need routine maintenance.
Fiber laser cutting devices, however, require little maintenance. Carbon dioxide must be used as the laser gas in CO2 laser cutting systems. As a result, the cavity needs to be cleaned frequently because of the purity of the carbon dioxide gas. The project requires at least $20,000 annually for a 1000W CO2 system. In addition, a lot of CO2 reductions need high-speed axial turbines to supply the laser gas, which needs upkeep and renovation.
People typically pick fiber laser cutting machines for the processing of metal sheets, although CO2 laser cutting machines are still popular in the processing of non-metallic materials, particularly for precision processing and advanced handicraft processing.
Different cutting materials absorb light at varying rates depending on the wavelength. Nevertheless, each has pros and cons that vary based on the processing item.