Laser cutting services have quickly become a popular way to get items engraved professionally. There are many reasons for this: laser cutting is precise, efficient, and can be used on a variety of materials. In this guide, we will take a closer look at what laser cutting is, how it works, and the benefits of using a professional laser cutting service.
Did you know that the word "LASER" is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation?
Lasers originated in the 1960s when they were quickly adopted for uses in manufacturing, medicine, and even communications. This invention offered a new kind of energy, one that could melt and even vaporize certain materials including certain types of metal.
Today, lasers' most popular use is in cutting. This technology channels incredibly intense energy into a controlled form that enables us to shape, sculpt, cut, and engrave materials.
During the laser cutting process, the laser is focused on a small area through a lens to create and apply heat that melts fine cut marks into the material. When a material is melted using a laser, a coaxial gas jet is used to push it out of the way and cut a kerf in it.
A continuous cut is made by moving the laser beam or the workpiece under the control of a CNC machine. There are three main types of laser cutting: fusion cutting, flame-cutting, and remote cutting.
In fusion-cutting, an inert gas, like nitrogen, is used to push the molten material out of the kerf.
In flame cutting, it helps to use oxygen as an aid gas. The exothermic reaction which happens when you push on the molten material, also adds more energy to the process.
Remote cutting is done without the assist gas because a high-intensity laser beam partially evaporates the material.
The laser cutting process can be automated using offline CAD/CAM systems which control either three-axis flatbed systems for 2D laser cutting or six-axis robots lend the capacity to cut 3D objects.
Laser cutting services are becoming increasingly popular as the technology to automate evolves and becomes even more precise. Plasma and oxy-fuel cutting are, consequently, becoming less common.
During the laser cutting process, the laser beam is focused through a lens, to a tiny point capable of producing a laser cut. Much in the same way that sunlight can be directed through a mirror to produce heat or even start a fire.
The lens is defined by its focal length (the distance between the lens and the focused point). In creating a cut, to the appropriate specifications, you'll need to consider the diameter of the focus point and the depth of the focus.
These points are dependent can be affected by the width of the laser beam as well as the focal length of the lens being used.
While it is possible to optimize focal length in relation to each materials' thickness, this process involves additional set-up time when using the same equipment for different types of jobs.
More often than not laser cutting service providers set a standard lens focal length unless a specific job has special requirements.
What is a laser cutter capable of?
Laser cutters can:
When using a laser cutter to engrave various materials, you can expect the following:
There are two types of laser cutters that are particularly popular in today's laser cutting market. These are the CO2 and fibre-based laser cutters. Here's how they work:
The CO2 laser is created in a gas mixture of carbon dioxide, helium, and nitrogen. And is powered using an electric discharge.
They can emit at a wavelength of up to 10.6μm and generate high kilowatt laser beams.
These lasers are capable of cutting materials 5mm thicker than the fibre laser and do so at a quicker pace. It also produces a smoother surface finish when cutting thicker materials.
Fibre lasers are categorised as ‘solid-state lasers’, which are lasers wherein the beam is generated by a solid medium, in this case, a series of laser diodes.
The laser beam is amplified through an optical fibre where it is then focused through a lens or a mirror concave onto the material. Fibre lasers have a range of advantages:
At Krintech, our team specialise in precision laser engraving services in the London area and all over the UK for one-off projects or large batch orders.
We work to fulfil orders across a wide range of industries including the architectural trade, camera departments, exhibition designers, event organizers, graphic designers, jewellers and fashion moguls, model makers, production designers, prop makers, prototyping, retail window display companies, wedding organizers and many, many more.
With a little help from our top-of-the-range laser cutters, our team are able to cut most materials including hard and soft woods, veneers, acrylics, card, cork, foam, felt, leathers, lino, paper, perspex, vinyl and more.
We use a Xenetech, high-powered, CO2 laser technology to produce an extremely fine level of cutting detail across a wide variety of materials.
We frequently replicate company logos and artworks into cutting or engraving formats using professional laser cutting systems that can manufacture components directly from CAD drawings faster than any other process.
The laser cutter is very flexible and works from numerous file formats such as AI, EPS and PDF.
What's more, we use a Universal Laser System, one of only a handful available in the UK, which has an impressive workable bed size of 1200mm by 610mm, working with objects with a maximum depth of 300mm (8 inches), and operating two laser beams with greater precision and speed than ordinary systems.
So if you are looking to fill large volume orders, personalise a one-off item, or assist in a project requiring laser cutting work, you can be sure, your goods will be modified to the highest professional standard on the market when you source your laser cutting services from Krintech.