Principles of laser cutting

Table of Contents

Laser cutting is a modern method of processing metal parts.Initially, man separated metal parts with hand tools. It was a slow process that required a lot of time and effort. The cut often turned out uneven, the details were rejected. With the development of technological progress, new ways of separating metal blanks have appeared. That is cutting by laser.


The technology of laser cutting of metal implies the process of heating the metal in a certain place above its melting point. The working drive generates a focused beam, which passes through the lens system, becomes more powerful. An incandescent beam of light hits the surface of the part, begins to melt it. Moving along the guides, the working head makes a cut of a given size and shape.

Laser cutting simple devices for cutting metal do not allow you to separate parts of great thickness. In order to work with thick sheets, it is necessary to choose an installation equipped with an inert gas supply. It blows the molten metal outward so as not to interfere with the melting process.

Laser Cutting characteristics

  • Length constancy. Thanks to this, it is easy to focus on any surface using optical lenses for laser cutting.
  • Low beam light divergence angle. This allows you to get a powerful directional stream of light at a given point.
  • The total radiation power increases due to coherence.
  • When laser cutting metal, the material may melt or evaporate. It depends on the capacity of the equipment.

Laser cutting Modes

Laser cutting of metal blanks depends on the following factors:

  • Beam diameter;
  • Drive power;
  • Processing materials with protective compounds;
  • Number of lenses, their location;
  • The type of metal or alloy being processed;
  • Workpiece thickness;
  • Preliminary cleaning of metal from rust, dirt.

The inert gas used also affects the rate of separation of parts. For example, if you replace oxygen with ordinary air, the performance of the apparatus will be halved.

The quality of the Laser cutting depends on the selected cut creation mode. The main factors that affect the state of the finished cut are the speed of movement of the working head, the thickness of the part. Cutting for metal is desirable to be done slowly so as not to spoil the cut.

Types of laser cutting

Laser cutting of sheet metal is performed using special devices of various types. The equipment consists of the following elements:

  • A power source in laser cutting that supplies voltage to the working drive.
  • A generator that creates a directed flow for laser cutting
  • A series of focusing lenses that amplify, concentrate the radiation at one point.

All elements are installed on the desktop with guides, stepper motors.

Depending on the power, three groups of laser cutting devices are distinguished:

  1. Solid statelaser cutting- up to 6 kW. Installations on which a ruby ​​or other crystal is fixed to create a directed flow of energy. They work with pulses or constant radiation.
  2. Gas laser cutting – power from 6 to 20 kW. Equipment for the operation of which a gas mixture is used. It heats up under the influence of electric current.
  3. Gas-dynamic laser cutting- from 20 to 100 kW. Apparatus powered by carbon dioxide. High power, low power consumption.

The choice depends on the goals of the master. The thicker the sheets you need to cut, the more powerful the equipment you need to choose.

Advantages and disadvantages of laser cutting

Laser material processing has a number of strengths and weaknesses.


Depending on the power of the selected equipment, laser cutting is possible to separate thick sheets.

Cutting metal with a laser is performed without contact of the working part with the surface of the product. This eliminates mechanical damage to the material.

High speed of the technological process.

If the laser cutting machine is equipped with a CNC, high accuracy and productivity can be achieved.

Separation of the minimum amount of waste.

Ability to create cuts of different sizes, shapes.


The installation of laser cutter consumes a lot of electricity.

Simple models cannot separate sheets over 20 mm wide.

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