Laser cutting machines are industrial equipment that uses laser technology to engrave and cut materials. Laser cutter&engraver allow batch processing of metallic and non-metallic materials. With the development of laser technology, they are not only used in industrial manufacturing, but also in many homes and small businesses, laser cutting machines are also being used. It improves work efficiency, saves time, and is an essential machine. For many people who are just getting started, you may be curious about what does a laser cutter&engraver do. This guide will give you the best answer.
What are laser cutters used for?
Laser cutters can be used for a variety of processing, such as cutting, engraving, marking ect. With a laser cutting machine, you can process materials accurately and quickly, it will make your business easier.
Laser cutting machine can cut materials completely, such as cutting, hollowing, and drilling.
When cutting wood, the cross section maybe burns because it is cut by laser heat. If you want to cut thick wood or acrylic, you need a laser cutter with a large wattage (power).
This process cuts only the upper part of the two-layer material. By adjusting the set value of the laser output, you can perform delicate processing that stops the laser in the middle of the material. It is mainly used for processing of seals and labels.
Laser engraving is possible on various materials such as acrylic and wood. Very fine processing is possible, and it is possible to change the engraving depth by adjusting the power and speed of the laser.
Anodized metal can be marked. Although it cannot be carved deeply, it peels off the alumite treatment layer on the surface.
Material is deeply sculpted to give a 3D look. Laser engraving machine can achieve this effect.
By outputting the gradation-applied data, it is possible to perform 3D engraving. Not all laser cutters are compatible, sometimes you need accessories such as rotation.
What materials can a laser cutter cut?
A major feature of laser cutters and laser engraving machines is that they can process various materials. Here is most of the material it can process.
It is a representative of materials processed by laser cutters and laser engraving machines. In particular, in the cutting process, the cross section melts with heat, resulting in a very smooth and transparent finish. There are also products developed for laser cutters, such as two-layer acrylic.
Laser engraver can be used to easily engrave designs and graphics, and is used in a wide range of applications such as nameplates and signs.
Acrylic that turns white when laser engraved.
Since there is little heat sag after laser cutting, it is suitable for laser processing. Acrylic that allows for very detailed expressions.
Laser cutting and engraving can be performed on plywood such as natural wood, MDF, veneer, and most other materials. Both cutting and engraving are possible, but the thickness of the cut depends on the hardness of the wood and the laser power.
Note: the knots and annual rings are hard.
Paper can be processed with a lasre cutter, including thin paper, cardboard, Amercian paper, and stickers. It is used not only for cutting and half-cutting, but also for perforation processing and extremely small holes. It is also possible to engrave the surface of thick paper.
Note: scorching is noticeable when cutting slowly, so cutting quickly with high output will reduce scoring.
Nature leather is often used in laser processing. Depending on the tanning method, expansion and contraction by heat may be large. Care must be taken in the case of tanning, as harmful gases may be generated during processing depending on the type of chrome used.
Raw materials for synthetic leather are roughly divided into urethane and polyvinyl chloride.
Urethane synthetic leather can be laser-processed, but polyvinyl chloride synthetic leather cannot be laser-processed.
Most natural fibers such as cotton and silk can be laser-processed, but depending on the thickness and type, they may burn when cut.
In recent years, laser processing has been used to damage denim.
Synthetic fibers such as polyester can also be processed by laser.
Since the laser is processed by heat, the cut part is melted by heat and the fiber does not come off.
It is also used for processing nonwoven fabrics and some glass fibers.
Non-woven fabric / Mask
Laser cutting machines are widely used in non-woven fabrics in hygiene products (masks and diapers), which can avoid being contaminated by the blade. It flexibly responds to changes in the shape of products that are renewed in a short cycle, and offers many advantages, such as a reduction in the number of heat treatment steps for cut surfaces.
Laser cutting machines can be used to process black granite, agate and onyx, but it is not suitable for processing fragile materials such as crystal.
There are various resins such as polyoxyethylene (POM), polyester (PES), polystyrene (PS), polycarbonate (PC), polypropylene (PP), ABS resin (ABS), silicon and Duracon, there is no problem with laser cutter and engraver. For example ABS can burrs on the surface due to heat dripping at the time of cutting, but it does not matter if it is a thin material of about 1 mm.
Some materials can generate fumes when affected by heat, so you’d better make a judgment after testing, or you can ask an expert if the material is safe.
It cannot be cut and carved deep, but it is possible to carve the surface lightly.
It is not suitable for delicate expression of light and shade or large solid painting, but it is easy to engrave characters.
Rubber, silicone material
If you use a rubber stamp material for laser, it can engrave neatly.
Depending on the type, silicon can be engraved and not suitable for cutting.
We recommend the use of a deodorizer, because burnt residue remains on the surface during engraving and some materials have a strong smell.
What materials should not be cut with a laser cutter?
While a wide variety of materials can be processed, some materials should not be cut with a laser cutter.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Polyvinyl chloride is a typical material that should not be laser processed. Gases harmful to the human body are generated when cutting, and if the gas adheres inside the machine, it will cause rust.
Laser processing is not possible for materials containing chlorine, not limited to polyvinyl chloride.
Since the element symbol of chlorine is CL, check the material and avoid those that contain CL.
Materials that reflect laser light, such as mirrors and mirror-finished metals, cannot be laser-processed.
The reflected laser beam may damage the inside of the machine.
Materials that generate harmful smoke to the human body
Materials that emit harmful smoke such as Teflon cannot be laser cut.
What are the advantages of laser cutting?
Supports small lots and many types
The major advantage of laser cutter is that they can handle small lots and many types.
It requires less settings than other machines, and is so flexible that it can be said that “processing is possible with data.”
Multiple data can be arranged and processed at once. You can easily switch work and change data.
There are many companies that mark names and messages on stationery, goods and souvenirs and sell them as original goods.
Some customers provide lasers permanently in one corner of the store and provide laser processing to customers who visit the store and sell them on the spot.
Laser cutting is a non-contact processing that does not directly touch the material, unlike other cutting tools that use a cutting tool.
There is less risk of damaging the target object compared to machining with a blade, and there is no need to secure with vacuum, double-sided tape, clamps, etc., making setup very easy.
It can also be used to process soft materials that are difficult to cut with blades and deform when pressure is applied.
Easy setup and operation
The operation of the laser cutter and engraver is as easy as a home printer. No special expertise or skills are required and can be operated by people who are not used to machines.
Even part-time and part-time workers can operate, reducing the time and costs required for human resource development.
Easy maintenance and low consumables.
Laser cutters and laser processing machines do not need to be worn or polished like blades.
For daily maintenance, it is enough to clean the lens and mirror regularly.
Laser processing has very high reproducibility of data, and it is possible to cut and engrave complicated and fine details.
Some processes can only be done with a laser, such as the complicated cutting of paper.
The benefits of laser cutter for your business
Laser cutting machines may help companies achieve business goals, such as improving production efficiency and capacity. Whether it is a large factory or a small business, laser cutting machines will solve your manufacturing problems.
Manufacturing industry has always been working on it, but laser cutters and laser cutting machines are machines and tools that greatly contribute to improving productivity. There are many companies that have increased their sales several times by introducing laser cutters.
Reduce time by reducing man-hours
By switching from the conventional method to laser processing, the number of work steps can be reduced and the time can be reduced.
For example, in the case of acrylic cutting, conventional acrylic cutters and CNC routers require work to polish the cut cross-section to make it smooth.
However, laser-cut acrylic cross sections eliminate the need for polishing. By using a laser cutter, the polishing process can be reduced entirely and the time can be dramatically reduced.
Reduce labor costs
By introducing a laser cutter, it is possible to reduce labor costs. By switching from conventional methods to laser processing, tasks that required a large number of hands can now be handled by a small number of people, and labor costs for processing can be reduced.
Laser cutters require less specialized knowledge of setup and machine operation than other machines. It does not take long time to train professional staff, so even part-time workers can operate. It is also possible for one person to operate multiple machines.
If you have other questions about laser engraving machines and laser cutting machines, please contact EMIT: https://emitlaser.com.