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How Laser Cutting Works

Laser cutters are highly advanced pieces of machinery that can cut and design a wide variety of materials; the most popular material used in laser cutting applications is acrylic. Laser cutters operate by focusing a robust laser beam at an extremely accurate focal length, which endows the laser with the ability to cut, etch, and shape material.  There are many different types of laser cutter set ups, but similar computers control each laser cutter.

When the focused laser beam is directed at a specific material, the material burns, evaporates, melts, or gets blown away.  Unlike many other industrial cutting techniques, laser cutting leaves the material with the smoothest, high quality surface finish.

Stimulating a lasing material with electrical dischargers generates lasers strong enough to cut.  When a lasing material is stimulated, a beam is reflected via a partial mirror.  As the beam reflects off of the mirror, it builds energy and escapes as a monochromatic beam of coherent light. Laser cutting machines focus the beam with mirrors and fiber optics, which focuses the light directly to the cutting zone.  At its narrowest thickness, a laser-cutting beam is only .32 millimeters.

To begin cuts, laser-cutting machines usually start a project with a pierce. A pierce is done before every cut, and it’s a technique that enables laser cutters to make a cut from somewhere different than the edge of the material.  Essentially, a pierce is a high power pulse of the laser that makes a hole in the material. This processes usually takes around 5-20 seconds, depending on the thickness of the material. For example, acrylic typically takes up no more than 10 seconds to pierce.  

There are many advantages of laser cutting over mechanical cutting: the main advantage being precision.  The beam does not wear or waver during the cutting process, so precision is guaranteed. Additionally, laser cutters reduce the chance of damaging the material because they have small heat affected zones. Materials that are difficult to mechanically cut are easily designed with laser cutting. For example, laser-cutting acrylic is the best method to ensure that the acrylic does not crack or melt during the design process.

If you are interested in laser cutting of any kind, whether it is laser cutting acrylic, steel, or any other item, it is always best to contact laser cutting professional.  Their knowledge of the machines and materials used for cutting are unparalleled

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