How Does a Laser Cutter Work?

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Lasers can be used for many purposes. One application for lasers is as a cutting tool. One benefit of using lasers as a cutting tool is that they are very precise. Further, they can used to cut a wide variety of materials such as stainless steel, mild plate, and aluminum plate.

Regardless of the material a laser is used on, it renders an excellent quality of cut. It also has a very small kerf width and a small heat zone. This all makes it possible to cut very intricate shapes and small holes. For more details, check https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR7ahM4QrPc.

But How Does a Laser Cut?

A laser is little more than a beam of light, just like any light, except that a laser is a very intense beam of a single wavelength of light or color. Specifically, a CO2 laser is a beam no more than about ¾ of an inch in diameter as it travels from a resonator where the beam originates to a beam path. In some cases, a beam might be directed to bounce in different directions by one or several mirrors. These so-called beam benders reflect light until it reaches its destination, the plate where the light is used. Compressed gas such as oxygen or nitrogen are also used to flow through the nozzle bore.

Light + Focus = Laser

But light without intensity isn’t a laser. To accomplish that intensity, it is passed through a lens or a curved mirror to create the cutting edge. All of this creates a beam that is precisely focused so that its shape forms the focus spot at the density of the energy in that spot as perfectly consistent, round, and in the nozzle.

After the large beam is focused to a single pinpoint, the heat density at that spot is so extreme that it has the power to cut. This might be compared with a magnifying glass that can start a fire by channeling the sunlight through it to a degree that the appropriate level of heat is generated. In the same way, a laser can focus 6KW of energy on a single spot. Imagine how hot that spot would get.

Density of Light Cutting

The high power density that results in rapid heating, and eventual melting and partial or complete vaporizing of material. Cutting mild steel, for example, the heat generated by the laser beam is enough to start a usual oxy-fuel burning method. This laser cutting gas is pure oxygen, just as in the case of an oxy-fuel torch. When aluminum or stainless steel is cut, the laser beam melts the material while high pressure nitrogen is used to blow the molten metal out of the kerf.

Finished Product

When a desired part is cut, the laser cutter’s head moves across the metal plate to work and cut the part from the plate. A height control system maintains an accurate distance from the end of the nozzle and the material being cut. The distance maintained is important because it is what determines where the desired focal point is in relation to the surface being cut. The quality of the cut can be affected by lowering or raising the focus point of the nozzle from above or below the surface of the plate.

There are many things that will affect the quality of a cut, but thanks to modern technology and materials, laser cutting is a reliable, stable, and very accurate means of cutting materials.

How Does a Laser Cutter Work?

Lasers can be used for many purposes. One application for lasers is as a cutting tool. One benefit of using lasers as a cutting tool is that they are very precise. Further, they can used to cut a wide variety of materials such as stainless steel, mild plate, and aluminum plate.

Regardless of the material a laser is used on, it renders an excellent quality of cut. It also has a very small kerf width and a small heat zone. This all makes it possible to cut very intricate shapes and small holes. For more details, check https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR7ahM4QrPc.

But How Does a Laser Cut?

A laser is little more than a beam of light, just like any light, except that a laser is a very intense beam of a single wavelength of light or color. Specifically, a CO2 laser is a beam no more than about ¾ of an inch in diameter as it travels from a resonator where the beam originates to a beam path. In some cases, a beam might be directed to bounce in different directions by one or several mirrors. These so-called beam benders reflect light until it reaches its destination, the plate where the light is used. Compressed gas such as oxygen or nitrogen are also used to flow through the nozzle bore.

Light + Focus = Laser

But light without intensity isn’t a laser. To accomplish that intensity, it is passed through a lens or a curved mirror to create the cutting edge. All of this creates a beam that is precisely focused so that its shape forms the focus spot at the density of the energy in that spot as perfectly consistent, round, and in the nozzle.

After the large beam is focused to a single pinpoint, the heat density at that spot is so extreme that it has the power to cut. This might be compared with a magnifying glass that can start a fire by channeling the sunlight through it to a degree that the appropriate level of heat is generated. In the same way, a laser can focus 6KW of energy on a single spot. Imagine how hot that spot would get.

Density of Light Cutting

The high power density that results in rapid heating, and eventual melting and partial or complete vaporizing of material. Cutting mild steel, for example, the heat generated by the laser beam is enough to start a usual oxy-fuel burning method. This laser cutting gas is pure oxygen, just as in the case of an oxy-fuel torch. When aluminum or stainless steel is cut, the laser beam melts the material while high pressure nitrogen is used to blow the molten metal out of the kerf.

Finished Product

When a desired part is cut, the laser cutter’s head moves across the metal plate to work and cut the part from the plate. A height control system maintains an accurate distance from the end of the nozzle and the material being cut. The distance maintained is important because it is what determines where the desired focal point is in relation to the surface being cut. The quality of the cut can be affected by lowering or raising the focus point of the nozzle from above or below the surface of the plate.

There are many things that will affect the quality of a cut, but thanks to modern technology and materials, laser cutting is a reliable, stable, and very accurate means of cutting materials.