Laser cutting is the most accurate way to etch or engrave on your design and is by far the coolest way to show off your design skills. Laser cutting uses a high powered laser directed through optics to trim cut or slice different materials such as carbon, steel or metal.
The laser beam focuses on the material to either burn, melt or vaporize the material. It has become very popular in specialized engineering and among small businesses due to its ability to create high-quality surface edge finishes. It allows for multi-layered cutting and design that would take a skilled artist too much time to execute.
So how can anyone interested in this technology move forward? It is not difficult or very expensive but the following must be kept in mind.
1. The Type Of Material You Want To Cut Or Engrave.
The type of material you want to cut will eventually lead to the type of laser you need to purchase and the type of technique you will use.
• For brittle material such as glass, you should use a thermal stress cracking cutting technique. This method uses thermal heating and expansion to etch through the material.
• If you are working with metals then you need a melt and blow method. This type of laser cutting is also referred to as fusion cutting. It uses high-pressure gas to blow away already melted material.
• For materials that are of a specific size, a special technique is used to perform flame cutting. Usually, this is used for Carbon or steel with a 1mm thickness.
• Vaporization cutting uses extreme heat to generate a keyhole cut for materials that do not melt like carbon and wood.
Now depending on the material and technique, you are willing to explore, then you can make a decision on the type of laser you want to purchase.
2. The Type Of Work The Laser Is Doing.
There are three main types of lasers out there in the market and the following can be used either industrially or for small businesses. Lasers are used to cut, engrave or to bore (drilling) on materials. Therefore depending on the type of work you want doing, you can choose between these types of lasers.
• A CO2 laser which is mainly used for engraving on surfaces.
• An Nd laser. This is a Neodymium laser that is used for low repetition boring, such as in earth boring situations
• A Nd-YAG laser mostly used foe welding in a high power situation. This is a laser employed in many industries.
3. The Weight Of Your Pocket.
Laser cutting is not a cheap endeavour but for the best results, you should be willing to spend some money to guarantee exquisite finishes on your designs. The cost of a laser cutter is high but cheaper alternatives are available for novices at stores like eBay.
If you have the time, then you can save a little money by purchasing the parts you need and assembling your own laser cutter. This will take a lot of time and patience on your part but will, in the long run, get you more acquainted with the specifics of the machine and save you a bit of cash. As an added advantage, you can easily repair a laser cutter that you have assembled since you took the time to know the machine.
It is important that before you use a laser cutter to adhere to some safety precautions. Always wear the necessary safety equipment such a heavy duty gloves, before handling it. Take the time to train with a specialist on how to use a laser cutter. There are plenty of instruction videos on youtube that can help a novice become better acquainted with the technique. Operate a laser cutter in a balanced psychological state, when you are calm and collected. Ensure that you are also in the right physical shape to operate the machinery and lastly, have fun while using this cool machine.
In conclusion, laser cutting is a technique that has been adopted in various industries in the economy. However, it requires expertise and utmost safety for effective utilization. With the right equipment and safety precautions in place, this technique has revolutionized the way things are done.