What is CNC Laser Cutting and How Does it Work?

CNC machining has revolutionised the manufacturing industry by automating the manufacturing process, saving time and reducing errors. One of the most popular machines used in CNC machining is the CNC laser cutter. 

In this blog post, we will discuss what CNC laser cutting is, how it works, the types of laser cutting machines, and the various industries that use CNC laser cutters.

What is a CNC Laser Cutter?

A CNC laser cutter is a computer-controlled cutting machine that uses a high-powered laser beam to cut through materials such as metal, wood, and plastic. 

CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, which means that the machine is controlled by a computer program that dictates the movement of the laser beam. 

Laser cutting is a non-contact process that uses a focused laser beam to melt, vaporize, or burn through the material being cut.

Components of a CNC Laser Cutter

A CNC laser cutter consists of three main components: the laser, the cutting head, and the CNC controller. 

  • The laser is the source of the high-powered laser beam, and it comes in different types such as CO2, fibre, and neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet (Nd:YAG) lasers. 
  • The cutting head is part of the machine that focuses the laser beam onto the material being cut, and it also contains a nozzle that blows gas onto the material to aid in the cutting process. 
  • The CNC controller is the brain of the machine that controls the movement of the cutting head and the laser beam.

Laser Cutting Workings: How does a CNC Laser Cutter Work?

The process of laser cutting involves focusing a high-powered laser beam onto the material being cut, which causes the material to melt, vaporise, or burn. The focused laser beam is guided by mirrors and directed onto the material by the cutting head. The gas blown onto the material by the nozzle helps to remove the molten or vaporised material and prevent the material from catching fire.

There are two main methods of laser cutting: vector cutting and raster engraving. 

Vector cutting involves cutting through the material along a predefined path, while raster engraving involves etching a pattern onto the surface of the material by moving the laser beam back and forth across the material.

Types of Laser Cutting Machines

There are several types of laser cutting machines available in the market, including CO2 laser cutters, fibre laser cutters, and neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet (Nd:YAG) laser cutters. 

  • CO2 laser cutters are the most common type of laser cutter and are best suited for cutting non-metallic materials such as wood, acrylic, and plastic. 
  • Fibre laser cutting machines, on the other hand, are best suited for cutting metals and are much faster than CO2 laser cutters. 
  • Nd:YAG laser cutters are primarily used for cutting very thick metal.

Applications of CNC Laser Cutters

CNC laser cutters are used in various industries: 

  • In the automotive industry, CNC laser cutters are used for cutting sheet metal components for car bodies and other parts. 
  • In the aerospace industry, they are used for cutting components for aircraft engines and other parts. 
  • In the jewellery industry, they are used for cutting intricate designs in metals such as gold and silver. 
  • In the signage industry, they are used for cutting letters and logos from a variety of materials.

With the advancement in technology, CNC laser cutting machines have become more efficient, precise, and versatile, making them an essential tool in modern manufacturing. If you are looking for a CNC laser cutting machine, Phillips India offers a range of machines, including JFY laser cutting machines, that are designed for different applications and industries.