How Does Laser Cutting Work?

The new laser cutting machine is now fully operational at Red Box Engineering.Production of the first laser cutting machine began back in 1965 with it’s main objective being to drill holes into diamond dies. This progressed further in 1967 when oxygen assist gas was to cut 1mm thick steel sheet with a focused CO 2 laser beam, and this technology was put into production in the early 1970s to cut titanium for aerospace applications.

That is how the process began, but how does laser cutting work? We explain all in this article.


Laser Cutting – How it Works:

The laser beam used during the laser cutting process is a column of highly intensity light of a single wavelength or colour. When it comes to a typical CO2 laser, this is completely invisible to the human eye due to the wavelength being in the Infra-Red part of the light spectrum. The laser beam itself can be bounced in a variety of directions by using mirrors, before it eventually focused onto the plate. Compressed gas, such as Oxygen or Nitrogen, flows through the nozzle bore, where the laser beam goes through before making contact with the aforementioned plate.

It is essential that the beam is precisely focused to ensure that the transferred shape and density of the energy of the focus spot is perfectly round, consistent, and completely central in the nozzle. This extremely level of power produces rapid heating, melting and, in some cases, total vaporisation of the material being cut.

Laser cutters are usually faster than using a CNC punch press when it comes to thinner gauge materials and that have fewer individual holes. This is due to the initial piercing of the material that slows the laser cutter down. This is also true for thicker gauges as more heat is required to melt through the material.

Our laser cutter (RBOR-PH 3015) has a 3000mm x 1500mm platform size and cuts using Air, Nitrogen and Oxygen depending on the cut required, the material used and thickness needed. The fiber cutter we use can cut extremely thick gage material, as well thin gage and intricate parts.

We can work off your drawings, or alternatively we have a highly skilled design team who can work with you to design your parts.

Contact Red Box Engineering today regarding your laser cutting requirements and we will be happy to help.