Essential Guide to Laser Cutting
The coolest thing about laser technology is its versatility – with a variety of applications and an endless scope of materials, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish with laser cutting.
What is Laser Cutting?
Laser cutting is a methodology use in manufacturing and prototyping. It entails the use of a focused, high-powered laser beam to create cuts,
etching, or scoring on flat-surfaced materials according to detailed specifications. Unlike other manufacturing methods, a laser cutter doesn’t require the skill of an artisan – laser cutting machines are controlled by computers that modulate the strength of the laser, depth of the cut, and relay information about the design.
To grasp the full versatility of laser cutting as a design tool,
imagine a laser cutter as a “reverse 3-D printer”,
but instead of telling the machine to print a material in a specific design,
we’re telling it to cut specific designs out of any material we choose. 3-D printers are often limit by the types and colors of plastics they can print, but laser cutters work on virtually any surface, offering virtually unlimit creative options.
How Do Laser Cutters Work?
To use a laser cutter, all you need is the machine itself,
some material to cut or etch, and a design file,
so the computer that operates the laser knows how to tell it what to do. The word “laser” is an acronym that means “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation” – but how does that work exactly?
The most common type of laser used in laser cutting is a carbon dioxide laser. The device consists of a laser tube that emits a laser beam when a current is pass through it. This beam of light becomes increasingly powerful as it bounces off of a series of mirrors and through a focal lens in the machine head. The beam is directed towards the desire area and a precise cut is made.
The best part is that this entire process is computerize. Designs are upload digitally, and settings for the laser are customiz via computer, allowing for high-precision cuts that produce consistent results.
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