CNC Metal Cutting Machine
In this piece, we’ll examine CNC laser cutting and its advantages over more conventional techniques.
Customers nowadays, unlike in the past, are actively seeking cutting-edge technology that can accommodate their exacting design specifications and sophisticated machinery to get the job done.
Although CNC plasma cutting and CNC wire cutting are in use, CNC laser cutting is the universally acknowledged machining technology among machinists around the world.
What Is CNC Laser Cutting?
CNC laser cutting machines employ a focused, high-power laser beam to etch, engrave, or cut metal into predetermined patterns controlled by a computer. They are designed for the precise cutting of small holes and complicated forms. Laser-cutting machines make this feasible due to their innovative design and manufacturing process.
The CNC Metal Cutter
A computer numerical control (CNC) cutter relies on a set of computer instructions known as G-code to precisely carry out the necessary operations. CNC laser cutters differ from standard CNC machines in both design and operation. The technology relies on a thermal process that does not involve physical contact. One component of computer numerically controlled laser cutting equipment is the laser head, which consists of a lens and a nozzle.
Laser light is concentrated by a lens and focusing head before exiting the nozzle. A laser beam is a concentrated stream of extremely bright light, and when it is directed at a workpiece, it melts the material and cuts it to the appropriate dimensions. In CNC lasers, vaporized metal is ejected from the workpiece, and the lens is cooled using compressed gas.
How Does It Work?
Focusing a powerful laser beam on a small area of metal causes localized, rapid heating because of the beam’s narrow spot size. At that moment, not only will the temperature rise rapidly, but the liquid will also boil out. With computer numerical control (CNC) technology, the laser head and laser beam may be moved to precisely where they need to be to make the cuts you want.
An electrical current is used to excite a lasing material, which then releases a beam of light. This beam is amplified and reflected back into its container from within using a half mirror. After it has built up enough momentum to leave its confines, it can be directed at the object being worked on. There are three primary kinds of lasers used for computer numerically controlled (CNC) laser cutting:
Combustion of fossil fuels (CO2) Neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd: YAG, or YAG)
Despite their similarities in design, fiber CO2 and YAG lasers serve distinct purposes. C02 lasers are utilized for engraving at lower power levels, whereas industrial applications make use of higher power levels for welding and cutting due to their inexpensive cost. As YAG lasers have a higher peak power, they are particularly effective for marking and etching metal. Because of their solid-state design and high-power output, fiber lasers can efficiently cut a wide range of materials while lowering per-cut costs.
CNC Laser Cutting Machine Types
CNC Laser Cutting machines can be broken down into several distinct categories, each of which is based on the nature of the laser medium utilized (solid, liquid, or gas) and the specific component (Carbon dioxide, Nitrogen, etc.) that makes up the medium. CNC CO2 laser cutters, CNC crystal laser cutters, and CNC fiber laser cutters are the most popular types of industrial laser cutters.
Let’s go into great depth about the many CNC laser-cutting machine types that exist.
What Is a CNC CO2 Laser Cutter?
CNC CO2 laser cutters are laser cutting equipment that employs carbon dioxide as the working laser medium. These laser cutters are the most popular on the market because of their high output power and versatility.
You may expect these machines to have an output power of 15 kilowatts (kW) and an efficiency of up to 30%. These machines are typically used to work with sheet metals or other metals that are less than 10mm thick, and they are ideal for cutting small elements and acute angles.
While working with thick metal, the quality of the cut improves in proportion to the strength of the machinery.
What Are CNC Fiber Laser Cutting Machines?
CNC fiber laser cutting is one of the most cutting-edge technologies currently available. The laser light in this technique comes from a series of diodes and travels via a fiber optic connection. For cutting materials thinner than 5 mm, fiber laser cutting is both faster and cleaner than alternative methods. This method of cutting is generally suitable with all materials, while silver metal requires special attention.
Cutting silver metal with a laser beam can cause damage due to the metal’s propensity to retain heat. When utilizing this technology to cut silver metals presents a significant issue. Machine operators typically use a bracket to move the heat away from the metal’s surface and away from themselves.
What Are CNC Crystal Laser Cutting Machines?
As the name suggests, neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet and neodymium-doped yttrium ortho-vanadate crystals are used in CNC crystal laser cutting equipment to generate the laser beam. It is usual practice to utilize CNC crystal laser cutting equipment for cutting thick materials due to the great power of the laser beam. There is a vast range of materials that may be cut by these laser cutters, from wood and metal to plastic and glass.
Benefits of CNC Laser Cutting Machines
Now that we know what CNC Laser cutting is and how its wide varieties differ, we can look at why they’re superior to other traditional cutting methods. CNC laser cutting machines offer better precision and accuracy than traditional cutting equipment, allowing you to do tasks requiring the cutting of intricate forms and designs, as well as holes as small as 2 mm.
When high-powered laser beams are employed in CNC laser cutting machines, the resulting cuts are incredibly precise and clean, reducing or eliminating the need for any secondary finishing steps.
Many other machines, including milling and deburring machines, are used to finish cutting work in traditional cutting technology. All these auxiliary devices and tools are now unnecessary due to the advent of CNC machines.
As laser cutting is a non-contact procedure, the risks of metal damage or contamination are minimized when using this cutting method. Although CNC laser cutting machines are the go-to for quick turnaround times, CNC wire cutting is the better choice for thicker materials and applications that call for a high level of finishing.