There are many new part designers currently helping the industry adapt, along with the constant evolution of laser cutting technology. This means that there is a need to get back to the basics of part design. In this guide, we share some important things to know about laser cutting part design.
Some of the most important things to know about laser cutting part design include the following:
Laser beams require high-intensity light, which means that the metal burns almost instantly. Always be aware that parts will have a heat-affected zone (HAZ) on the edge of the cut. This is not generally an issue. In some industries, it can be something more serious. In that case, important parts are cut with the correct lasers as metal can form micro-fissures, which in turn lead to issues.
As laser beams are not totally straight, you can expect parts to have a taper. In thinner material, this is not noticeable. New technology and cutters have been created to reduce taper in thicker materials and improving the quality and speed of cuts at the same time. This includes nozzle technology to funnel cutting gas to the cut instead of spreading through the material. Beam modulation is another technology that is used.
Laser cutters can create almost every shape from sheet metal. With that said, there is some limitation in the size of parts, with some parts being extremely small. An error that often happens in part design is bend reliefs that do not properly draw into parts. In thin materials, bend reliefs are too thin for accurate cutting.
Thanks to sheet laser cutters, even extremely thin material can be processed quickly. Thick plate metal can also be cut accurately and quickly. Constant developments in technology have improved speeds greatly, improving cutting edge quality at the same time. Even though materials such as stainless steel and aluminium can be processed quickly, thicker reflective materials including copper and brass can be cut without the risk of beam reflection. As a general rule of thumb, the power level will affect the thickness of the material cut using laser cutters.
Laser piercing has come a long way over the years. Fabricators now have a variety of piercing options that can be used in part processing. Typical piercing options include slow, gentle and multi-stage. The latter two types aim to reduce the level of splatter that could potentially affect finished parts. Laser pierce points need to be placed in the best position - usually, this is away from the edge of the material. This reduces splatter and also helps to prevent heat issues in thick material.
At Bystronic, we are committed to providing part designers with the best machines to suit every project. Contact us today to learn more about our laser cutting systems.