laser cutting guide

Laser cutting is an increasingly popular, incredibly versatile industrial process. You’ll find the skilled team here at Bay & Moor in Devon using laser cutting equipment on a daily basis to bring our UK corporate and private clients’ diverse range of projects to life. Laser cutting has numerous applications in all kinds of industries, from hospitality to aviation.

Cutting materials with laser beams instead of blades is extraordinary. It sounds like an idea from science fiction when in fact it’s firmly rooted in the here and now (learning the basics about laser cutting is even part of the school curriculum). We consider laser cutting to be one of the most amazing ways to use laser technology and are proud of our role in today’s laser industry.

If you’re keen to get one or more decorative or functional objects (anything from branded plaques to lock components) professionally, accurately cut, laser cutting could be ideal. At this point, you’re probably wondering how it works. So let’s take a deep dive into this modern marvel with our laser cutting guide.

Suitable for Strong and Delicate Materials

One of the most important points to make about laser cutting is that unlike conventional cutting methods such as sawing, it’s a non-contact process; no pressure is applied to the material. As a result, it’s not only robust materials that can be laser cut but also delicate ones. This is reflected in the incredible range of materials we work with when providing UK laser cutting services: card, paper, leather, cork, acrylic, plastic laminates, wood, MDF, veneers and textiles.

Intense Heat Creates Precision-Cut Edges

How do lasers cut things? The answer lies in the fact these powerful, concentrated beams of light are so full of energy and so focused that they generate considerable heat. (Hobarts, a manufacturer of laser cutters, points out that ‘optical lenses are able to focus the laser to just 0.001 of an inch – just 0.03 of a millimetre’.) The laser is aimed at such a specific area, and the heat is so intense, that particles of the material are vaporised, creating precision-cut edges. This leads to superior products and minimal waste. Indeed, laser cutting boasts unrivalled accuracy and consistency. Plus, lasers don’t wear out or become blunt.

Another benefit is the area surrounding the laser-cut edges is unaffected. It isn’t compromised by the laser cutting process.

Any Design Can Be Laser Cut

Laser cutting is so effective and reliable that it can be used to create any design – even something complicated that’s likely to defeat traditional cutting processes. We’ve made a video of one of our laser cutters at work so you can see how masterfully – and speedily – it handles the intricacies of a design (in this case, a bee shape being cut out of plywood).

The process is highly adaptable – if changes need to be made to designs (for example, during prototyping), there’s no need for a complicated, time-consuming reconfiguration of the cutting equipment. This helps to ensure laser cutting is affordable for large and small production runs, as well as one-offs (unique artwork, say).

Vector Cutting with CO2 Laser Cutters

We use CO2 laser cutters because they’re particularly versatile. They perform vector cutting: the laser follows the lines contained in a computer-generated design (called a vectored file) in order to bring the desired object into being. Vectored files are composed of lines that can be scaled up or down without any loss of quality (unlike images made of pixels). Vectored file formats include pdf, ai and others. You can send us a laser-ready vectored file (our artwork guidelines explain how) or alternatively we’ll create one for you.

CO2 laser cutters are amazing machines. How do they create laser beams? To borrow the title of one of Devon-born writer Agatha Christie’s novels, They Do It with Mirrors! Electricity runs through a glass tube containing CO2 and other gases with a mirror at each end. It gives the gas particles more and more energy, which results in a beam of light. The mirrors reflect most of the light instead of letting it escape, so it becomes more and more intense – a laser is created. Other mirrors then direct the laser towards the material to be cut, and an optical lens ensures it’s positioned perfectly.

Professional UK Laser Cutting Services

Having read our laser cutting guide, we hope you now share our enthusiasm for this precise, reliable, cost-effective alternative to traditional cutting.

To find out how Bay & Moor’s laser cutting UK services can benefit your project, contact us for expert advice.

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