How does laser cutting and engraving work?

When cutting stainless steel or aluminum, the laser beam simply melts the material and high-pressure nitrogen is used to push the molten metal out of the groove. In a CNC laser cutter, the laser cutting head moves over the metal plate in the shape of the desired part, thus cutting the part of the plate. Laser cutting is a process that uses a laser to cut different materials for industrial and more artistic applications, such as engraving.

Laser engraving

is a process that vaporizes materials in fumes to engrave permanent and deep marks.

The laser beam acts like a chisel, making incisions by removing layers from the surface of the material. The laser hits localized areas with massive energy levels to generate the high heat needed for vaporization. Permanent marks created by laser engraving are darker because light is trapped in deep cracks (engraving depth can reach up to 0.5 mm). Laser cutting is a digital manufacturing technology that works on 2D vector files.

The laser cutter itself is built with a laser resonator which, depending on the cutting method, contains a gas mixture of a glass body or glass fibers. The cutting process begins when energy is applied to the mixture, which is then sent through different mirror lenses that focus the laser. Thanks to the mirror series, the laser beam is sent through the nozzle directly to the material. When it comes into contact with the surface, it vaporizes the material in the shape of the vector file.

Part of the material that is melted with the laser is called cutting and must be taken into account in its design. You can find all the information about it on each page of our materials. Drilling usually involves a high-power pulsed laser beam that slowly makes a hole in the material, taking between 5 and 15 seconds in the case of 13 mm (0.5 inch) thick stainless steel, for example. Yes, some laser cutters can cut metal, in particular carbon steel, mild steel, stainless steel, steel alloys and aluminum.

While plasma cutting still allows thicker sheets to be cut than laser cutting, advances in laser technology mean that the gap is closing, although machinery costs may remain prohibitive. If you look at the following enlarged images, you can see the chaotic surface created as a result of laser engraving. A commercial laser for cutting materials uses a motion control system to follow a CNC or G code of the pattern to be cut into the material. Last but not least, laser cutting machines are also capable of laser engraving, giving you even more ways to develop your projects and find the perfect solution for your production.

An example of water-cooled laser processing is a laser microjet system, which couples a pulsed laser beam with a low-pressure water jet to guide the beam in the same way as an optical fiber. Now that you know how a laser cutter works and you know the advantages it offers you, you can realize how beneficial it will be for your manufacturing process. Laser cutting can be used to engrave complex designs on smaller parts, leaving the metal free of burrs and with a clean cut. There is also a reduced likelihood of deformation of the material being cut, since laser systems have a small heat-affected area.

With this method, the laser system uses both laser engraving (to create black marks) and laser engraving (to create white marks). Without proper care, materials to be cut may burn, while some metals may discolor unless the correct laser intensity is used. Laser cut metal can be widely found for structural components and shapes, including car bodies, mobile phone cases, engine frames or panel beams. In the production industry, laser engraving technology is often used to engrave barcodes on certain parts.

As a result, when you buy a laser system, it should always come equipped with a smoke extraction system to protect the working environment and an air knife to protect the lens from the laser. .

Shana Lall
Shana Lall

General tv fanatic. Infuriatingly humble beer lover. General foodaholic. Incurable food fan. Typical travel fan.