Metals were never easy to cut. Soft metals and metals with a high strain-hardening capability, such as pure aluminum, iron, copper, and tantalum, are notably tricky to cut.
The invention of laser technology made metal cutting far too simple. There were still some metals that were difficult to laser cut. Then came Fiber and C02 metal-cutting technology, which made those difficult metals easy to slash.
Fiber and CO2 laser cutting processes enable manufacturers to cut materials faster than conventional processes, allowing them to scale up production while reducing labor hours.
This article aims to highlight what metal can laser-like fiber and c02 cut and what are their limitations. Continue reading the article to find out the answer.
How Fiber And C02 Laser Metal Cutter Cuts?
Fiber Laser Cutter
Fiber lasers work by first producing light in laser diodes. Photons (light) are released as electrical current runs through the laser diodes, and the generated light is pushed through a fiber optic cable.
The fiber optic cable compresses this light into a minimal-diameter, highly focused-light beam. This laser beam is calibrated to a precise wavelength and creates razor-sharp cuts and marks.
CO2 Laser Metal Cutter
The laser device produces a beam of light at the beginning of the laser cutting process and guides it towards the outlet using mirrors. The mirrors create a resonator, which increases the energy of the light in the beam.
It passes through a focusing lens along the route, which concentrates the beam. The cutting head features a nozzle that directs the beam onto the object being worked on. Metal is melted by the laser’s focussed beam.
Metal laser cutting can appear to be a difficult task. Several metals have qualities that make laser cutting difficult; they are thick and reflective, and the way they absorb heat can complicate things.
CO2 lasers must constantly use oxygen as a gas aid and are therefore limited to cutting less-reflective metals. CO2 laser cutters can cut steel and metal of various types and thicknesses, including mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, plastic, tile, marble, and stone.
What Metal Fiber Laser and CO2 Cuts?
Now, let’s discuss the metals that fiber laser cuts. Fiber lasers can cut sheet metal, including mild steel, stainless steel, titanium, iron, and nickel, and reflecting metals, including aluminum, copper, brass, silver, and gold.
Fiber lasers outperform CO2 lasers in cutting reflecting materials. Fiber laser also performs well with anodized and painted surfaces.
It’s reasonable to believe that because fiber lasers employ visible light, reflecting materials like brass, aluminum, and copper would be challenging to cut. However, this is not the case. Fiber lasers are now considerably more advanced and can cut through complex reflective materials for metal fabricators.
Sheet metal is commonly used in the manufacturing, construction, and infrastructure industries. However, laser cutting is also gaining popularity in the creative sector, such as metal art and sculpting. Metalworking is made much easier with the help of a fiber laser cutter.
CO2 lasers can process thinner gauge metal materials such as stainless and mild steel, aluminum, and brass. In addition to these metals, CO2 may cut wood, paper, cardboard, plastic, and PMMA. Rubber, leather, metals, and ceramics are also examples.
How Thick Can A Fiber Laser and CO2 Laser Cut
Depending on their power, fiber laser cutting machines have varying cutting capabilities; however, practically all fiber laser machines can cut metal sheets up to 13mm thick. With 10kW of power, higher-powered fiber laser equipment can cut mild steel up to 2mm and stainless steel and aluminum up to 30mm.
The cutting ability of a fiber laser cutting machine is also affected by machine quality, laser type, cutting environment, cutting speed, and other aspects. Generally, a 1000w fiber laser cutting machine can cut carbon steel plates as thick as 10mm; however, if the cutting thickness is raised, the edge effect and speed must be compromised.
How Thick Can A C02 Laser Cut?
In terms of cutting power, a 400W laser using the laser cutting option can cut Mild steel with a thickness of up to 4.8mm. C02 laser can cut Stainless steel with a thickness of up to 3mm (with oxygen assist) and Stainless steel with a thickness of 2mm (with nitrogen assist).
What Can Material Fiber Laser And C02 Not Cut?
Fiber Laser can not cut
- Non-Metal Material
- Rare Material
The fiber laser cutting machine is a metal laser cutting equipment used for processing. It can only cut metal and cannot cut non-metal materials such as cloth, leather, stone, and so on. The wavelength range of the fiber laser cutting machine does not fall within the absorption limit of the materials listed above. That’s why non-metallic materials cannot be sliced by fiber laser cutting equipment.
Aluminum and copper are rare metals. They are usually not recommended for fiber laser cutting machines.
These substances are highly reflective. The absorption effect is poor within the material’s optimal absorption range. Most of the energy is reflected, which can damage the protective lens in front of the laser head. That’s why non-metallic materials cannot be cut by fiber laser cutting equipment.
Cutting nonferrous and highly shiny materials with CO2 laser technology has always been challenging.
Silver and aluminum are widely recognized as the two most reflective(polished) metals on the planet. They are widely used in solar mirrors, pane windows, sunglasses, and jewelry. Yellow metals such as gold, copper, brass, and bronze are also reflective metals that can be difficult to laser-cut with CO2 lasers.
Although stainless steel is not often considered a reflective metal, it can have some reflective characteristics when polished to a mirror finish. This can make laser cutting difficult, so it is usually supplied with a plastic coating on the cutting side to reduce the risk.
Which Metal Laser Is Good For Cutting Reflective Metals?
When cutting different materials, both Fiber and C02 are capable of doing that. Both can cut wood, some polymers, and paper. A CO2 laser, on the other hand, should not be used to cut metals such as aluminum, copper, brass, or steel.
For these gleaming, brilliant metals, fiber laser cutting is a superior and far safer alternative to CO2 laser cutting. Why? The fiber laser beam is absorbed by the material rather than reflected off it. Too much-reflected light is not only hazardous, but it also reduces the effectiveness of the cutting machine, increases the time and effort required to cut, and harms the aesthetics of the item.