Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Featured Articles: Cherry Office Furniture - How to Find Cherry Office Furniture to Email A Fax - How to Email a Fax

Laser Cutting Steel - Cutting Steel with Lasers

process energy method beam

While many methods are used for cutting steel, including circular saws and water jets, one of the most precise methods for steel cutting is with a laser. In this process, a laser beam cuts away or vaporizes the steel at the place where the cut needs to be made. These lasers beams are generated by reflecting a high energy electrical discharge in a series of mirrors or fiber optics through a lens to make a focused beam that is about one-one hundredth of an inch wide. Three kinds of lasers are typically used for cutting steel: CO2 lasers, neodmium (Nd) lasers, and neodymium yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd-YAG) lasers. CO2 lasers are used for cutting, welding, and engraving. Nd and Nd-YAG lasers are both used for cutting steel, but Nd-YAG lasers are used when more power is needed.

The actual method of cutting the steel may vary, but the major methods include melt and blow, reactive cutting, and burning stabilized laser cutting. With a laser cutting steel using the melt and blow method, a high powered jet of gas blows the excess material away after it is heated by the laser beam. This method can save energy, since the laser does not have to be used for the complete process. Reactive cutting, or flame cutting, involves the use of a laser beam to produce a high powered torch. This method is often used for carbon steel that is over 1 millimeter thick. Finally, burning stabilized laser cutting is probably the image that comes to mind for most people when they think of lasers cutting steel. With this process, a high powered laser will cut through steel in much the same way that a circular saw or water jet does.

Laser cutters either have a stationary laser with a mechanism for moving the material under them (moving material lasers), a laser that moves both side to side and up and down (flying optic lasers), or laser that move in only one direction with a mechanism for moving the steel under them (hybrid lasers). After the cutting process is complete, the steel needs to be cooled. Water is often used to cool the steel, but it is also placed in a chiller or other cooling mechanism.

The biggest disadvantage to laser cutting is the high amount of energy that is needed for the process. While wattage may vary depending on the size of the metal and the type of laser used, a piece of aluminum one quarter inch thick will require 10,000 watts of energy to cut with laser cutters, while a piece of stainless steel about 2 one hundredths of an inch will require 1,000 watts. In addition to the ongoing energy costs, the start up cost for laser cutters will be substantial as well. A single cutter will cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000, apart from any cooling systems and other necessary accessories. In the long run, however, the equipment is a cost effective and accurate tool for many businesses.

D Link Wireless Adapter - D Link Wireless Adapter Guide - Wireless USB Hubs (Connecting Your Peripherals to the Hive Mind) [next] [back] Customer Service Videos - Investing in Customer Service Videos is a Wise Choice For Any Business

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or