Laser cutting is used in the aerospace, automotive, electronic, medical, and dental industries as well as many others. Although it’s been used in the industrial world for many years, it’s becoming more popular in the architectural world as well. Laser cut timber decorative panels, stair railings, and laser cut decorative wall panels are becoming increasingly popular because they’re easy to customize and add a beautiful dimension aesthetically like nothing else can. There are a few methods of laser cutting you should know about.
Crystal lasers are made from neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet (nd:YAG) and neodymium-doped yttrium ortho-vanadate (nd:YVO). These crystals can be used for non-metal and metal applications and are able to do very high-powered cutting, especially when low repetition is required. This means that crystal laser cutting is good for boring and engraving, but it’s also used in welding. A major drawback of crystal laser cutting is that the machine doesn’t last as long as other laser machines and it can be very expensive to repair.
CO2 laser cutting, also called gas laser cutting, uses a carbon dioxide mixed laser. The mixture is electrically stimulated to make the CO2 a laser. Although it originally wasn’t powerful enough to cut metal, advances in technology have made gas cutting a viable option for boring or engraving metal. CO2 lasers are used with other materials more often when cutting, however. When gas laser cutting uses nitrogen, it’s able to cut aluminum or steel, but if the nitrogen isn’t pure, the metal you’re working with will be oxidized.
Fiber laser cutting is the preferred method of laser cutting currently because it has the same capabilities of the 2 other types of laser cutting, but the fiber laser has a much long longer life span than the other 2 types as well. Fiber lasers work by using glass fiber and pump diodes to amplify a foundation laser to make it a stronger and more stable laser beam. It wastes less energy and creates less heat with less micro cracking. The laser is delivered directly through a cable and the wavelength can be up to 100 times smaller than the wavelength of the CO2 laser, so there’s greater accuracy and precision.