Laser Cutting Machine Guide- The Complete Information for Novices

Laser Cutting Machine Guide- The Complete Information for Novices

The laser cutting machine is indeed a great innovation of modern times. There would be hardly any industrial sector that does not use it.

After all, in comparison to conventional cutting equipment, laser cutters are more fast, accurate, flexible, and versatile. Furthermore, they give a better experience when it comes to repeatability.

The first laser beam cutter was introduced in 1967. However, laser cutting machines have come a long way since then. Modern laser cutters are more advanced and precise than previous models.

You can buy a laser cutting machine that matches your needs, whether you own an automobile company or you are an individual designer.

Let us get to know more about laser cutting machines, their types, applications, and more.

What is a Laser Cutting Machine?

A laser cutting machine, sometimes called CNC laser cutting machine, enables operators to cut the object. The laser cutting machine consists of a CNC Computer Numerical System that controls the tool with the help of embedded software.

Depending on its type, a laser cutting machine may have a fiber laser beam or CO2 laser beam. A laser cutter can engrave or cut metal, acrylic, rubber, plastic, textile, and several other materials.

The machine produces a high-powered laser beam to cut and etch metal, wood, and plastic surfaces. Nowadays, you can buy a laser cutting machine of different sizes and power based on your requirements.

What is a Laser Cutter Used for?

Today, laser cutters are extensively used in aircraft, automobiles, and the electronics industry. Even designers and artists are utilizing laser solutions in their projects.

A laser cutter can engrave and cut a wide range of metal and non-metal materials. In addition to this, it features a digital fabrication technology called 3D printing. The technology allows the operator to create designs.

A laser cutter serves a variety of purposes in different sectors. For example, in the sheet metal business, laser cutters help engineers cut sheet metals. Similarly, in the advertising industry, laser cutters are used to create signboards.

In simple words, the laser cutting machine gives precision and controlled cutting with speed. Nowadays, you can easily choose from small business and industrial laser cutting machines for sale.

How Does a Laser Cutter Work?

As we mentioned above, there are several types of laser cutting machines. Some cutters process metal, such as iron, steel, brass, aluminum, etc., while others cut non-metal materials like wood and plastic.

Aside from that, the beam source and the size of the machine distinguish their types. However, almost all laser cutting machines follow the same working principle.

First, you need to understand that a laser cutter machine consists of various components. These include laser cutting head, CNC system, laser source, cold water unit, operating table, and more. All these parts work together and help an operator make precise cuts.

Let us understand the laser cutting machine working principle.

A laser cutter produces an intense laser beam to cut or etch materials like steel, plastic, or wood. The laser burns and melts the material in this fast process, leaving an exquisite finish.

The computer numerical control system regulates the direction and intensity of the laser beam. The operator can change these settings depending on the requirements of their project.

An electrical light generates a laser beam within a narrow container and causes a chemical reaction. Thus the laser beam of the laser cutter releases a high power beam. The beam further gets reflected with the help of a mirror in a monochromatic light stream. From that mirror, the fiber optic directs the light to the operational area to make the cut or etching on the surface.

How to Use a Laser Cutter?

There may be a minor difference in how you use laser cutters depending on their type and size. However, you can expect the following basic steps.

Install All The Connections

Your first step should be ensuring that all connections, such as the power supply, exhaust system, and PC are accurately connected. Keep all the components of the machine clean. There should be no object beneath the processing table.

Switch on the machine

Once you have installed all the connections, turn on the main switch of your laser cutter. When you turn on your machine, the laser bed will travel down, and the laser head will move to the upper left corner, known as the zero position. The LED light will flash once your laser cutter is ready for operation.

Place the Object or Raw Material

Place your object on the cutting table. Adjust the cutting parameters of your machine according to the thickness of the object to be cut or engraved. Select the appropriate nozzle and lense. Adjust the nozzle of your cutting equipment in the center. After that, regulate the sensor of the laser cutting head. Next, you can choose the laser cutting gas depending on your cutting requirements.

Cutting Process

Do the sample cutting of the object. Ensure the process is smooth and precise. If there is a variation, set the parameters of your laser cutter accordingly. Before you start with the actual cutting, create graphics to be cut and input that data into the cutting system.

Once you are done with all the cutting preparations, begin the actual cutting process.

How Much Does Laser Cutter Cost?

The price of a laser cutting machine depends on various factors. The type, size, power wattage, origin, and applications of laser cutting equipment can have a considerable impact on its price.

The good thing is that whether you are a big industry, small business, or an individual artist, you can find laser cutting machines for sale meeting your budget and requirements.

For example, you can buy a hobby laser cutting machine at the price of $2600 to 3600. The price of a CO2 laser cutter machine for a mid-sized business could be between USD 3000 and 11600.

An industrial fabric laser cutting machine may cost you up to USD 16000.00.

If you want an exact price quote for your requirements, you may contact Allwinmac.

Where to Buy a Laser Cutter?

Once you have determined what type of laser cutting machine you need, think about where to buy a laser cutting machine.

Well, you can purchase laser cutters both online and offline. However, we would advise you to go for online methods as it allows you to explore the international market and choose from some of the best laser cutters. Moreover, it saves your time and headache to visit several factories.

You can visit the websites of different laser cutting machine manufacturers and check out their product catalogs online. If available, you can also see the laser cutting machine video.

Next, you can ask them to send a price quote for the laser cutter you select.

If you are looking for cheap laser cutting machines, we advise you to choose a Chinese manufacturer. In comparison to European manufacturers, their prices are comparatively low. Nevertheless, they offer laser cutting machines of the same standards.

However, keep the following things in mind when working with an online manufacturer.

  • Make sure they have at least ten years of experience in manufacturing.
  • Their cutters must meet the required industry guidelines.
  • They must have experienced engineers and an after-sales team.
  • Your laser cutting supplier/manufacturer must have approval from ISO9001, EC, EPA, and TUV.
  • Check out their testimonials, reviews, and other certifications.
  • Ensure they offer a legit warranty on their products.

How Many Types of Laser Cutters are There?

The choices are numberless when it comes to types of laser cutting machines. We can divide them on the following basis.

Source of Laser Beam

Fiber laser cutting machines and CO2 laser machines are two popular types of laser cutters.

All laser cutters emit heat by a laser beam, managed by optical fibers and mirrors. The fiber laser cutting machines use a fiber laser generator to fire a laser beam.

The high-powered laser beam passes through the optical path system and falls into the object’s surface so that it can reach the melting point.

Depending on the cutting purpose, the object is cut or slit. The machine is fast, high precision, and automatic, controlled by a CNC mechanical system.

Fiber laser cutters can engrave or cut aluminum, steel, sheet metal, and even plastic material.

On the other hand, a CO2 cutting machine is not capable of cutting down reflective brass, copper, or brass. You can use it to cut glass, textile, plastic, and thin steel sheets.

The CO2 cutter uses the transition of the rotation energy levels of CO2 molecules and vibration to produce laser light.

Generally, fiber laser cutting machines are faster and powerful than CO2 laser cutters. Nevertheless, these cutters are suitable to process non-metal materials only.

Type of Material They Process

You can readily buy wood laser cutting machines, metal laser cutting machines, plastic laser cutting machines, fabric cutting machines, or stone laser cutting machines. Therefore, we can say that laser cutting machines can process different types of materials.

Size and Power of the Machine

Laser cutting machines can also be classified based on their size. In the market, you can find various sizes of laser cutters. Nowadays, you can buy hobby laser cutting machines, portable laser cutting machines, industrial laser cutters, mini handheld laser cutting machines, and more.

You can also classify the machine based on their power. The laser cutters of 60, 80, and 100 watts are readily available in the market.

What Materials Can be Cut by a Laser Cutting Machine?

Modern laser cutters are highly advanced that can cut various types of materials.

Below are the materials you can use laser cutting machines on.

Metal

metal laser cutting machine

As we mentioned above, fiber laser cutting machines can process several metal types such as brass, steel, aluminum, iron, gold, etc.

Metal cutting machines come in various power ranges and can cut metals of different thicknesses. These cutters are widely used in automotive, aerospace, and other industries.

If your project requires the use of reflective metals like aluminum, get a powerful fiber laser cutter. On the other hand, if you want to cut nonmetal or thin metal material, choose a CO2 laser cutter.

Wood

Laser cutting machines can cut different types of wooden material, including plywood, cardboard, chipboard, etc. Artists and gift-making companies use a wood cutting machine to engrave or make complex patterns on a wooden piece.

Plastic and Acrylic

Modern laser cutters enable you to cut and engrave the hardest and delicate plastic material.

Acrylic and plastic are used worldwide to make wall art, signs, jewelry, and gift items. Laser cutting gives polished edges to acrylic and plastic material.

The advanced five-axis laser cutters let you accomplish even complex 3D laser cutting. You can cut material across three dimensions.

Fabric and Leather

For several decades, laser cutting machines have been used in the textile industry. There are special textile laser cutting machines and leather laser cutting machines enabling the clothing industry with several applications like cutting, engraving, and embossing.

Glass

A high-performing laser cutting machine can cut glass as well. However, since glass material has a reflective nature, it should be cut by an experienced operator.

Paper and Cardboard

You can also use laser cutters to cut paper and cardboard. Generally, designing and crafting companies use such cutting machines.

What Industries Can the Laser Cutting Machine Apply To?

Which Industry Needs Laser Cutting Machines

There is no single manufacturing business that does not use laser cutting machines. According to research, the global laser cutters market would reach $5.7 billion by 2022 with a compound annual growth rate of 9.3%. It demonstrates the rising need for laser cutters in a variety of industries.

The industries that employ laser cutting machines the most are listed below.

Aerospace and Defense

Fiber laser cutting equipment is commonly used in the aerospace industry. It simplifies the fabrication and production of aerospace components.

Laser cutters provide high precision and efficient cutting which is crucial for the complex parts of airframes and aircraft.

According to numerous studies, the aerospace sector uses laser technology in various research and applications. Laser cutters are one of those technologies.

Automobile

The automotive or automobile sector is also a crucial driver of the laser cutting market. Companies in the automotive production sector use various types of laser cutters.

Latest automobile laser cutters require a low workforce and take less time without making errors.

Electronics

Laser cutters can cut and process complicated components of electronic and electrical devices.

Medical and Fitness

Metal laser cutters process various healthcare and medical equipment. Also, in the fitness industry, laser cutters play a significant role.

Apparel

According to research, laser technology has been used in the textile or apparel industry since the 19th century. It has myriads of advantages over the traditional process of cutting and engraving. 

Modern textile cutting machines are faster and user-friendly. Moreover, they can cut various fabrics, leather, and composite materials.

Other popular industries where laser cutting machines are used include kitchenware, gym equipment, sheet metal, and more.

What Are the Factors Affecting Laser Cutting Machine Price

As we discussed above, several factors determine the cost of a laser cutting machine. You can categorize them into the following categories.

The Type of Machine

Various types of laser cutting machines are available in the market. Every machine type has a different price depending on their production capacity and the technology they use. For example, the price of a CO2 laser cutter is lower than a Fiber laser cutter.

The fiber laser cutter can process all types of metal material and features an advanced fiber laser along with an optical circuit design. As a result, it is expensive.

Size and Power

Laser cutting machines are available in a variety of sizes and power capacities. It goes without saying that the larger the size you get, the more it will cost you.

Origin of the Machine

The machine’s origin also plays a crucial role in determining how much you will pay for it. After all, delivery charges, the production cost, and various other aspects affect the overall price of laser cutting machines. For instance, European laser cutting machines are more expensive than Chinese laser cutting machines. It is because China has an abundance of raw materials required for making laser cutting machines.

Quality of Material

Some manufacturers employ low-quality materials in their machines to keep the cost down. Beware of such companies.

How to Maintain a Laser Cutter?

Like every machine, laser cutting machine maintenance is also essential for its consistent performance.

Below are a few tips to help you maintain your laser cutting machine.

General Inspection

Visual inspection is an ideal way to detect common laser cutting machine problems. Look for wear & tear, leaks, and deterioration signs every day. Do not forget to inspect the wipers and bellows in particular.

Lubrication

Frequent lubrication ensures smooth operation and prevents the wearing of moving components. Use a good quality lubricant to lubricate runners.

Cleanliness

Always keep your laser cutter dust-free. If you think you need to replace filters, change them. Replace both oil and air filters from time to time. Also, clean optics regularly as smoke generated by laser cutters can affect the efficiency of laser beams.

Test the Quality of Beam

Laser cutting machine manufacturers use a laser beam analyzer to test the quality of the beam. However, machine operators can test the performance of laser beams by analyzing cut or burn profiles. You can compare the cutting efficiency and sharpness of the beam today to when it was first used.

Maintenance of Chilling System

You have to change the water of the chiller occasionally. Add some microbial chemicals to it to disinfect or control microorganisms.

Assist Gas

Keep the gas clean and dry. You should ensure that filters and moisture traps are working fine.

What Are The Advantages/Benefits of Laser Cutting Machine?

What Are The Advantages Benefits of Laser Cutting Machine

The use of laser cutting machines has increased considerably over time. Still, several people are following the old cutting method. Perhaps, they do not know the benefits of laser cutting machines fully. Let us get to know the advantages of laser cutters.

Precision

No other cutting equipment can beat laser cutters when it comes to precision. Since they come with CNC systems, they can perform even intricate cuts with a high level of accuracy.

Compared to conventional cutters, laser cutting machines provide a smooth finish and clean edges. After all, it burns and vaporizes all the material that comes in the path of the laser beam.

Consistency

Thanks to software like CNC, CAD, and CAM, laser cutting machines are extremely consistent. Laser cutters provide you with the same results repeatedly.

Furthermore, laser cutters can cut thick metal rapidly. Whether you have a small business or a big company, it will save your time and workforce.

Energy Usage

If you are concerned about laser cutting machine power consumption, then let us tell you that they consume low energy.

Most laser cutters utilize around 10kW of energy during the operation. With other cutting mechanisms, the power consumption could reach up to 50kW.

Portable laser cutting machines consume a low amount of energy. We can say laser cutters are environmentally-friendly and cost-saving as well.

Flexible/Versatile

Modern laser cutting machines are highly versatile. Since they support multi-axis lasers, you can use them for different projects. A metal laser cutting machine, for example, can cut various types of steel, iron, and aluminum.

Perfect Finishing

Since laser cutters provide precise cuts, you will get smooth finishing. You will not see any burr. Furthermore, laser beams are well focused; therefore, you do not get internal flaws from heat exposure.

Automation

Automation is another well-appreciated feature of laser cutting machines. Some laser cutters come with conveyors and feed systems. In addition to this, you get contactless cutting as only the beam touches the material. Since there is no friction, you will not see any wear and tear.

Which Laser Cutter Should I buy?

When it comes to laser cutters, choices are endless. Which laser cutting machine you should buy depends on your budget, requirements, and the industry you are in. For example, if you want to cut or engrave materials like wood, plastic, acrylic, paper, and non-metal material, choose a CO2 laser cutting machine.

If you want to engrave or cut metal materials like steel, iron, brass, and aluminum, a fiber laser cutter should be an ideal choice.

Nowadays, you can also buy handheld and portable laser cutting machines. If you are an individual artist, such as a sign maker, engraved item maker, you can invest in portable laser cutters.

If you want to cut flat materials such as cloth, bamboo, etc., you can use a laser cutting bed. 

If you wish to purchase a laser cutting machine, look through our product catalog and choose the machine you want.

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