Three Essential Guidelines on Managing Your Laser Cutting Expenses

Posted on: 18 December 2017

Cutting is an essential process in almost every metal fabrication project. Therefore, it is crucial for you to select the most beneficial method for handling your raw material. If you are planning on manufacturing custom products or creating equipment parts for commercial use, you should think about choosing laser cutting. This process uses an amplified beam of light for cutting the raw material into desired shapes and sizes. The benefits of this method include cleaner edges, higher speed of production and reduced material wastage. Unfortunately, the cost of laser cutting can be considerably high. If you are concerned about the potential financial implications, you should think about using the below guidelines to manage your expenses.

Choose the Right Material

You should choose the most ideal material for your fabrication project to ensure low laser cutting costs. Different metals have varying densities and differing levels of inherent strength. If you choose a hard material for your fabrication, your fabricator will need to utilise special equipment and other resources to manage the cutting work. Therefore, where possible, you should elect to use softer, machinable metals for your project. It is also important to note that the quality of the metal can influence the ease of cutting and the subsequent costs. For example, steel with multiple impurities will be difficult to cut because of the varying melting points of the metal. Therefore, you should purchase laser-ready materials for the best results.

Manage Material Thickness

You should evaluate the thickness of the metal plates or sheets that you plan on using for your fabrication project. Your choice of the raw material could have significant impact on the final price for the cutting processes. As mentioned, laser cutting uses an amplified beam of light to cut through the metal. If the material is thick, the laser will need to be focused on a single area for longer before achieving the ideal melting point. This means that more power and time will be required for the process, increasing the total costs. You should note also that thicker sheets cannot be cut cleanly because of prolonged exposure to the high temperature beam.

Minimise Edge Finishing

Finally, you should think about eliminating your edge finishing processes after cutting. Laser-cut edges are considerably clean, and the final product can be used for most applications which do not focus on aesthetics. If you insist on improving the cut edges of your metal, you will have to consider increasing your budget because finishing is a secondary fabrication process.