Measure twice, cut once.
While this age-old adage is traditionally ascribed to carpentry, it’s also a perfect fit for sheet metal fabrication. Manufacturers put a premium on cutting accuracy to create shapes with the highest level of detail. Furthermore, different architectural and structural sheet metal applications demand top-tier precision.
If you’re aiming for a cut that rivals Luke Skywalker’s slash with his lightsaber, then the closest thing would be laser cutting.
What are the advantages of laser cutting compared to other metal cutting techniques? To find out why laser cutting is one of your best options for custom sheet metal fabrication, please continue reading.
1. Supreme Accuracy and Precision
There’s a reason why people coined the term “laser-like focus.”
Laser cutting delivers a powerful, focused beam of light to cut through metal with extreme precision. The tolerances you would expect from laser cutting are typically in the range of 0.003 mm to 0.006 mm.
For comparison, a plasma cutter would usually have a tolerance of 0.02 mm. Mechanical sheet metal fabrication tools, such as dies and punches, have tolerances ranging from 1 to 3 mm or more.
2. Grants Unmatched Versatility
You can use laser cutters on almost any metal, such as stainless steel, brass, copper, and aluminum. But it’s not limited to metals. You can also use it on wood, plastic, composite materials, and some textiles.
In addition to cutting, it can also perform various other tasks without replacing or switching tooling. For example, you can use the laser for marking, drilling, or engraving.
3. Speedy and Efficient Steel Metal Fabrication
Give laser swords to a bunch of samurai and see them turn into force-enhanced Jedi speed demons.
Laser cutters are just way faster than your bladed options. They can cut at a rate of 20 to 70 inches per minute. Also, because these machines are automated, they can work through the night even when operators are not present.
4. Negligible Warping
A common misconception about laser cutting is that the heat produced by the laser can cause major warping and distortion. But this is simply not true. The reason is that the cutting process is so fast that the material doesn’t have the time to distort or warp.
The heat-affected zone (HAZ) for laser cutting is minimal, even negligible, and easy to remove if necessary.
5. Cheaper Than You Might Think
Of course, for any business, the costs are always a crucial factor. However, there are several reasons why laser cutting services might be less expensive than you initially thought.
First, because of how accurate laser cutting is, you can have a higher sheet utilization. You can reduce your raw material costs by being more efficient and minimizing wastage.
Second, a laser uses less energy to produce a beam of light compared to the energy required to drive a punch through metal. Finally, lasers don’t go dull and have fewer moving parts, which results in lower maintenance and operations costs.
Laser Power for Sheet Metal Fabrication!
For sheet metal fabrication, having a fully armed and operational laser at your disposal is always a good thing. It’s efficient, accurate, precise, and cheap. What more can you ask for? For more business tips and advice, please check out the rest of the articles on this site.