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The Use of Laser Cutting in Sheet Metal Prototyping

Although there are several ways in which sheet metal can be shaped and cut, few are as accurate, reliable and inexpensive as laser cutting. The technology involved in laser cutting machine is so useful that a continuation, as well as improvement of their future capabilities, is inevitable.

Categories of Laser Cutting Tools

Laser cut is a flexible tool whose use can be applied in a wide spectrum of materials like stone, glass, plastic, wood, and sheet metal.

  1. CO2 laser

A CO2 laser cutter is a popular type of tool that is valued because it is easy to control and highly precise. A beam made of concentrated CO2 gas is activated by electricity to power the cut.

  1. Fiber Laser

A fiber laser uses glass fibers to enhance the potential of a seed laser. The result is a laser that is more powerful as well as more accurate than the CO2 laser cutter. A fiber laser is usually used for metals due to its focused and intense beam.

  1. Crystal Laser

A crystal laser is similar to a fiber laser, except that it uses pump diodes and crystals to generate the power of its beam. A crystal laser has a performance and application potential comparable to a fiber laser.

Benefits of Using Laser Cutting with Sheet Metal

There are numerous reasons why the use of laser cutting machine is the preferred method when developing a prototype sheet metal.

  • More Intricate

As a laser has an average size of just a few micrometers, it allows the accuracy to create and cut sheet metal prototypes that would not be possible if other methods were used. On the other hand, this results in an almost unlimited range of possibilities.

  • Finished Edge

The use of a physical technique like a blade, to cut metal sheets produces imperfections, such as roughness and burrs, along with the edge. For a lot of designs, these would need to be buffed out or otherwise eliminated which may increase the time it takes for the end user to get their product. The use of a laser eliminates this problem.

  • Scalability

The tools allow companies to cut as many or as few sheet metal prototypes as their customers want. In general, these lasers do not have to be adjusted or reconditioned to fit the design of a certain part. When adjustments are unavoidable, they are easier to perform when you use a laser cutter. Check here.

Laser Cutting and the Future

As of right now, CO2 laser cutters are still the industry standard, although fiber lasers are being rapidly adopted. Even though it is quite new, it is projected that fiber laser technology will become standard in the next 10 to 12 years. Several companies will continue to use their CO2 laser cutter along with their fiber lasers, providing them with more design options they can provide their customers. In addition, it could be combined with 3D printing to create accurate and reliable products for customers.