Laser cutting involves removing material to shape a workpiece in a process that generally reduces the amount of post-fabrication finishing work. For example, when cutting thermally treated material, heat can cause hardening at the outer edges of the cut. Hardening can be useful for many applications because it increases product durability. But it also limits the amount of machining that can done, making post-cut threading or deburring difficult.
Most laser cutting systems are automated under CNC parameters. These computer controls enable high levels of precision and increased cutting speed. Some CNC programs offer “flying optics” capabilities that allow a laser to shape material while the cutting head is in motion. The moveable laser can perform fast cutting operations while maintaining accuracy, and is highly effective on thin sheet metal. CNC programming can also regulate power output. Enabling the laser to shift settings depending on the contours and thickness of the material. In addition, some CNC are equipped with sensory units. They can adjust the distance between the cutting head and the workpiece to reduce the potential for warping.
Laser Cutting Steel
We usually use CO2 cuts thick steel materials, such as plates or reinforced sheets. Because they have higher power capacity than other models. In general, the thicker the steel sheet, the more power required to cut it. The ratio of thickness to the strength of the laser’s beam is largely determines the optimum cutting rate. Unlike many mechanical cutting processes, laser cutting can produce hole sizes significantly smaller than the thickness of the steel, sometimes as low as a fifth of the workpiece’s size.
Although Nd:YAG are usually incapable of cutting steel at any thickness approaching 20 millimeters. An optical fiber enhancement with an oxygen assist gas mechanism can enable these crystal-based systems to cut thicker steel workpieces. This kind of modification uses the laser to preheat the steel while the oxygen catalyzes an exothermic reaction to assist in the cutting.