Cutting with a laser is a non-traditional machining process in which light is focused and coherent to create an intense stream of energy that cuts through the material. Instead, it is a form of subtractive machining in which the material is continuously removed during the cutting process. This can be done by vaporizing, melting, chemically abating, or controlling the crack propagation. This type of laser optics is controlled by a CNC, making it possible to drill holes as small as 5 microns. As a result, the material does not suffer from residual stresses during the processing, making it possible to cut fragile and brittle materials.
Process of Laser Cutting
The laser beam is a column of extremely bright light with a single wavelength or colour. Because the wavelength of a common CO2 laser is in the infrared section of the light spectrum, it is invisible to the naked eye. As it travels from the laser resonator, which forms the beam, the beam is only about 3/4 of an inch in diameter through the machine’s beam path. Before it is eventually focused onto the plate, it may be bounced in diverse ways by several mirrors or “beam benders.” Before hitting the plate, the focused laser beam passes through the bore of a nozzle. A compressed gas, such as oxygen or nitrogen, also flows through that nozzle hole.
The laser beam can be focused using a specific lens or a curved mirror, which are done in the laser cutting head. The beam must be carefully focused so that the focus spot’s form and energy density are circular, consistent, and centred in the nozzle. The heat density at that point is extreme because the enormous beam is focused down to a single pinpoint. Consider how focusing the sun’s rays onto a leaf with a magnifying lens might spark a fire.
The material is rapidly heated, melted, and partially or completely vaporized with a high-power density. For example, when cutting mild steel with a laser beam, the laser heat is sufficient to start a typical oxygen-fueled burning process, and the laser cutting gas will be pure oxygen, just like an oxy-fuel torch. When cutting stainless steel or aluminium, the laser beam melts the material and then nitrogen is used to blow the molten metal out of the kerf.
CNC laser cutters move their laser cutting heads over a metal plate in the desired shape, thereby cutting the part out of the plate. Using the capacitive height control system, the nozzle is positioned perfectly between the plate and the end of the cutting blade. It is essential to determine this distance because it determines where the focal point lies with the plate. Therefore, raising or lowering the focal point can impact cutting quality, whether just at or below the surface. In addition to these parameters, there are many, many more that determine the cut quality.
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