Laser Cutting: More Than Just Metal

When most people think of industrial laser cutting, the first thing that comes to mind is sheet metal and piping. It is true that laser cutting is an excellent choice for all types of metal, but there are so many more uses for laser cutters. In fact, laser cutting is used across a huge range of industries for many different applications. If you are wondering if your particular material is suitable for laser cutting, the answer is most likely an emphatic "yes!" Laser cutting has a huge number of advantages for a wide variety of materials, which is why it now one of the most common industrial cutting methods.

What Is Laser Cutting? 

Although laser cutters are complex, high-tech machines, their basic operation is relatively easy to understand. All laser cutters work by directing a high energy laser at a workpiece in order to remove material. The method by which the laser actually removes material from the workpiece depends on the material being worked, but generally, cuts are made by burning, melting, or vaporization. Regardless of how the cut is made, a key feature of laser cutting is extremely high quality and precise edges.

What Can Laser Cutters Do?

Laser cutting is useful for just about any kind of cut. This means that a laser cutter can be used for traditional shaping cuts, but they can also be used for precision work such as drilling or engraving. Since laser cutters allow for extremely precise and accurate control, cuts can be made for creating highly complex and detailed shapes. Ablative laser cutters work by removing only a portion of the material on the workpiece, which makes them suitable for engraving or marking.

What Materials Can Laser Cutters Work With?

The simple answer is that laser cutting is a useful process for nearly any type of material. Laser cutters are commonly used with a wide variety of metals, but they are equally useful for cutting plastic, foam, wood, and even paper or textiles.

Although laser cutting as a process can be used to cut just about any material, the capabilities of specific laser cutters will vary quite a bit. Because of this difference in capabilities, not all companies that provide laser cutting services will be able to cut all materials. The type of material you are working with, as well as its thickness, will determine the specific service that best suits your needs, so it is important to consult with multiple companies when beginning any project.