The use of laser in cutting sheet metal is a common process in the manufacturing industry today. It involves specialised and expensive equipment with high technical knowledge to execute the process. The lasers are always assisted by Computer Aided Design (CAD) software programmes. It is well powered and will always cut an extremely fine line. Check out this tutorial on the process of laser sheet metal cutting to best understand the procedure.

Power Ranges

The laser cutting process may approximately range between 1500 and 2600 watts. As the beam of the laser used in the cutting process will propagate in small inches, the lines produced are very fine. With the sheet metal placed on the table, the cuts to be executed are automatic and are determined by the CAD programme, The cutting process can even be done on the material after it has been customised into different parts due to accuracy ability of the programme used. The entire process can be extremely complex compared to the possibility of using hands.

Laser cutting is the most effective method on sheet metal or stainless steel as these materials do not absorb heat or reflect light in the same degree as other types of metals.

The Cutting Process

The holes generated by the laser cutting process on sheet metal are slightly tapered. For this reason, the hole at the front may appear fractionally larger than the hole created at the back. For cases where you are working with exact tolerances, this is a very important factor. Very little burring is observed when using laser cutting. For 3D lasers, no burring is noticed at all. This translates to a much smoother, cleaner and faster operation compared to blanking and shearing the sheet metal material in order to accurately cut it.

Heat Treatment Process

Sheet metal is generally not heat treatable. However, the heat generated by laser hardens the material at its edges.

The Hole Sizes

Apart from the process being more precise that other methods of sheet metal cutting, it also has the ability of allowing much smaller holes. This may be approximately twenty per cent of the thickness of the entire stock. Such ability compares to other holes that may be 1.3 times the thickness of overlying stock in other methods of sheet metal piercing. Slot corners may also have relatively low radius giving it a much greater exactitude.

If you have more questions, reach out to manufacturers that specialise in laser cutting.