Laser cutting is a way to cut accurate patterns in metal, wood, plastic, and virtually every other material that man works with. High levels of accuracy and complexity is impossible with conventional machining tools. Laser cutting makes this possible these days. Laser cutting works by stimulating a gaseous medium, usually carbon dioxide, causing it to intensify light reflected back and forth several times within the laser chamber. The light surfaces from an aperture and is focused by a lens onto a particular point.
A characteristic process laser has a beam of about a 1/5 of a millimeter in width, focusing 1000 to 2000 watts of energy. This is enough to melt most ordinary materials. Because lasers become less focused and lose energy as they pierce through a material, there is a limit of about 20 mm for the depth of the cut. Laser cutting machines are incorporated into a larger CAD/CAM (computer-aided-design, computer-aided-manufacturing) scheme that takes a design file and implements it on a work piece. These machines represent a stepping stone in the enduring trend away from hands-on manufacturing, putting human workforces in a more removed, artistic design role.
Because a laser is made up of photons, fragments of its energy can be reflected away by materials like aluminum and copper alloys. These materials are also thermal conductors, which means they distribute incoming heat more steadily throughout their volume. For this reason, carbon alloy and stainless steel are popular work piece materials for laser cutting. They are poor at absorbing heat, so heat is focused into the laser’s path more readily.
Typical laser cutters permit features as small as 1 mm in size. Specialized lasers frequently feature sizes that are even smaller, permitting the fabrication of true micro machinery. The first laser cuts were made in 1967, as part of a spinoff of a military research project engrossed on lasers. Because the beams used in cutting are “class 4” lasers, the machines are premeditated to ensure that human operators are never wide-open to them directly. All the cutting is done in the machine.
When making stuff, the minutiae can make all the difference in the world between looking unsoiled and polished and looking rushed. To get this right involves spending countless hours cutting accurate holes or edges. But as industrial technology gets ever more easily reached, the likelihoods for everyday folks get much better. One such tool is the laser cutter, a shortcut to splendidness that everyone should try out.
For your laser cutting needs, HC Design Solutions is the place to be! Come and talk to our team about your needs and budget. For inquiries, call us at +61 02 9648 2715 or visit our website at www.HCDS.com.au.