There are many different ways to fabricate a variety of materials. If you are considering a CNC cutting system, the type of cutter you choose will depend on a variety of factors including the types of material you typically fabricate, budget, and desired features. Laser cutting offers many advantages over other cutting methods. Laser cutting offers enhanced precision and cut quality over other methods such as CNC plasma cutting. The edge quality is, simply put, far superior. Laser cutting is also quicker than other methods of fabrication. Additionally, because the laser does not make any contact with the material (contact can lead to some distortion or decrease in edge quality), laser cutting is ideal for more intricate designs, small cuts, and other detailed work. If you are wondering whether or not you would benefit from a CNC laser cutting, one of the most important things you need to consider is what material you are fabricating. Because in the end, if a laser cutter cannot fabricate the material you work with, it will not be much help. Fortunately, CNC laser cutting is ideal for fabricating a number of materials.
Because of the way a plasma cutter works, it is not ideal for cutting certain materials. But, because a laser cutter does not make contact with the material itself, it can fabricate a wide array of materials including metal, diamond, leather, wood, cardboard, quartz, ceramic, plastic, glass, and more. ESAB elaborates on what material laser cutting can fabricate, “The high power density results in rapid heating, melting and partial or complete vaporizing of the material. When cutting mild steel, the heat of the laser beam is enough to start a typical “oxy-fuel” burning process, and the laser cutting gas will be pure oxygen, just like an oxy-fuel torch. When cutting stainless steel or aluminum, the laser beam simply melts the material, and high pressure nitrogen is used to blow the molten metal out of the kerf.” The characteristics (shiny/reflective surface) of metallic materials, in particular, will impact how you use your laser cutter or whether or not laser is the ideal choice. Carefully consider the materials you tend to fabricate or think you may fabricate int he future and consider the many advantages that laser cutting may offer when selecting your CNC fabricating system.