ALUMINUM LASER CUTTING SERVICES
Laser cutting is a metal cutting process that offers numerous advantages over traditional cutting methods. It facilitates precision cuts and accommodates demanding design with intricate geometries. The narrow beam of focused light cuts through metal with little material waste in comparison to traditional mechanical cutting processes. Laser cutting has become a popular method for cutting a wide array of specialty aluminum alloys.
Challenges of Laser Cutting Aluminum
While laser cutting processes offer an efficient method for cutting metals, aluminum does present some unique challenges that not all providers can handle. These include:
Compared to stainless steel and iron, aluminum is a relatively soft metal. While the material itself can be cut, the edges might be less clean than harder metals. Providers of laser cutting services can accommodate for the softer metal by using a higher wattage laser, cutting faster, and implementing air assist technology to blow the kerf out of the way during cutting.
Laser cutting uses a highly focused beam of light to cut through the metal. The reflective surface of aluminum can scatter or even fully deflect the laser beam, which diminish its cutting capacity and potentially damage the optics of the cutting machine. Experienced laser cutting equipment operators can adjust for reflective metals like aluminum by altering cutting speed, cutting gas, and focus position of the laser to create an effective cut.
Aluminum is a good thermal conductor, which presents difficulties during laser cutting. Laser cutters use heat from the laser’s interaction with the metal material to melt through the surface. When that heat disperses too quickly, it can’t create clean, smooth cuts. Overcoming this issue requires a higher powered laser cutter with a metal cutting head.
Advantages of Fiber Laser Cutting for Aluminum
The difficulties discussed above are commonly associated with CO2 lasers, but these problems can typically be addressed by using a fiber-based laser instead. These tools have a 1-micron wavelength that reduces deflection and ensures the aluminum material will absorb more energy from the beam. This capability ensures that the aluminum will reach its melting point faster, resulting in more accurate, cleaner cuts.