Laser cutting is a type of application that uses a high focused laser to cut materials. Laser being short for, Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation is a column of very high intensity light, of a single wavelength, or color. A machine runs the laser beam through the material of choice and pierces a hole and continues to cut through, leaving a clean cut with a smooth finish. Many fabricators use laser cutting when they need precise and intricate designs that require laser precise cuts. One of the main reasons to use laser cutting techniques is to reduce the mechanical stress that a sheet metal form goes through while being cut.
There are four main types of laser cutting: Thermal stress cracking which is used for brittle type materials such as glass. Fusion cutting which allows you to cut metal as well as other fusible materials, such as ceramics. Flame cutting which is best for carbon steel and finally vaporisation cutting which uses extreme heat to generate a key hole cut. Common products that are made from laser cutting include acryclic ornamentals, glass jars, engraving metals, and cut out parts for machines or computer hardware.
Laser cutting can require high use of energy and heat and is limited to the amount of thickness it can cut. With a 4,000-watt laser, 3/8-inch-thick carbon steel usually is the maximum practical thickness; with a 6,000-watt laser, material thickness can be increased to 1/2 inch. An alternate method to laser cutting is also Water Jet Cutting. Learn more about Water Jet Cutting Here.