Laser cutting parameters/materials?





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  1. #1
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    Default Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    As far as laser cutting goes, I am unsure about specific materials etc. that are possible to laser cut more efficiently/cheaply than others.

    I did once -20- years ago, have some stainless steel 5mm plate cut for signage.

    Managed to see the machine ( large machine cutting-up to approx 2x3 m sheets) in action, and learnt that it was very inefficient in terms of power usage -some 60kw power draw left only a few kw of cutting power at the laser once the whole conversion of energy thing and cooling was done.

    Also learnt that it was easier to cut 20mm steel, than 5mm aluminium. ( or a similar sort of numbers) -this being because the alu is highly reflective, so reflecting off much of the available cutting power.

    Not sure how laser tech has changed since then

    Now, I'm actually looking at cutting 'soft' materials -eg. thin wood, thick card, -or pvc -and wondering what are the pro's and con's of each in things like finish, cutting time/costs, etc.? I believe wood clogs up the lenses, so some are reluctant to do this -I'm guessing any cellulose material is problematic then? -butthen you do get plenty of wooden dinosaur ( and Jeep!) cutouts at the markets, so maybe that's not a great issue?

    My idea is that I could use either material as is possible ( solid card, pvc, thin metal sheet, 3mm wood) and this would be items of small scale ( 100mm x 50mm x 1-3mm thick)

    It may be possible to die-cut the small parts -but a die is probably quite expensive to make for an initial run which will be only a few dozen.

    There would ultimately be several hundred items to cut, so I'd have to consider that in the equation.

    Any input will be appreciated!
    Last edited by Patrick L; 2020/04/23 at 03:02 PM.
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Let's start off by what I guess is one of the most impotent points to ask after reading what you have stated above. What tolerances would you possibly want to achieve?
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Quote Originally Posted by ViperR View Post
    Let's start off by what I guess is one of the most impotent points to ask after reading what you have stated above. What tolerances would you possibly want to achieve?
    not crucial -it is an independent item -essentially flat piece which needs simple pattern/tabs cut -cutline can be anything up to.5mm wide
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    waterjet could be a better solution for some of those materials but its expensive
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Consider waterjetting, especially for non ferrous materials
    www.waterjet.co.za

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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Quote Originally Posted by mullerza View Post
    waterjet could be a better solution for some of those materials but its expensive
    Thanks

    Does waterjet work with absorbent materials?

    is it generally cheaper/more expensive than laser?
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Plastics and Composites

    • All types of plastics, foam, rubber
    • and a wide range of composites.

    Stone, Glass and Wood

    • Marble, Graphic, Glass (bullet proof / laminated), various wood types.



    I used them extensively for various poly's, as in the ethelynes, be it high density-low density etc.

    Pricing wasn't bad, you would have to discuss that with them as a % of your raw unit cost.

    Finish is clean and very neat and can be adjusted to close to perfection, but at an extra cost.

    I have no affiliation, so i cant be more precise, but give the guys a call, they were really helpful in my days when i used them extensively.

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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Right out of my comfort zone here but must ask anyway..
    We having trouble sourcing more of these lock rebate kits that are made in SS .
    Could they be made in strong plastic? 500 at a time.Name:  Screenshot_20200423-185016_Gallery.jpg
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Quote Originally Posted by duncang View Post
    Right out of my comfort zone here but must ask anyway...

    What tolerances? +- 0.5? 0.2? 0.1? mm
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Quote Originally Posted by duncang View Post
    Right out of my comfort zone here but must ask anyway..
    We having trouble sourcing more of these lock rebate kits that are made in SS .
    Could they be made in strong plastic? 500 at a time.Name:  Screenshot_20200423-185016_Gallery.jpg
Views: 198
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    I'd say not-

    -unless you found exactly the right material that would not go brittle, was hard enough not to abrade too quickly, hold colour and finish, resistant to solvents/paints etc. etc..

    The keep-plate is a hard-used item if you consider it-door gets slammed -sometimes with lockbolt open, everyday sliding/grinding by sprung doorlatch.

    One is looking for 10+-years life from an item like this in a house -PVC generally does not offer that.

    Could you not have them punched & bent? -at 500 units you should get a good price-?

    Have you tried QS Locks?-or Contract Hardware -or Assa Abloy?
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    I have never seen plastic ones but dont see why not.It may need tobe beefed up thickness wize and that may not go down well with the carpenters.

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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Quote Originally Posted by KobusDJ View Post
    What tolerances? +- 0.5? 0.2? 0.1? mm
    Not a clue on that Kobus ?
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick L View Post
    I'd say not-

    -unless you found exactly the right material that would not go brittle, was hard enough not to abrade too quickly, hold colour and finish, resistant to solvents/paints etc. etc..

    The keep-plate is a hard-used item if you consider it-door gets slammed -sometimes with lockbolt open, everyday sliding/grinding by sprung doorlatch.

    One is looking for 10+-years life from an item like this in a house -PVC generally does not offer that.

    Could you not have them punched & bent? -at 500 units you should get a good price-?

    Have you tried QS Locks?-or Contract Hardware -or Assa Abloy?
    Thanks, yes we buy from them but these are imported by them from China and markups are horrendous !!!!
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Quote Originally Posted by duncang View Post
    Thanks, yes we buy from them but these are imported by them from China and markups are horrendous !!!!
    Give Savignac a go. Google to find a branch. Dirt cheap. I buy cylinder locks from them for R30. Buco charges R150-300 for the same thing.
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    To get things back on track. You've listed quite a couple of materials with different properties, instead of looking at a cutting option why don't you first see which materials rises above the rest. There will definitely be winners and losers (Like You mentioned). The other aspects off course is cost if you can make something from paper why go make it from steel if you know what I mean.

    Guess if it was me I would make a couple of say your first couple of designs look at cost of material versus functionality. Then only look at cutting options and tolerances.
    You mentioned sever-hundred items. You going to make mistakes so let rather call it 1400 items.

    Next these parts you want to make are they to be sold or are they just templates that will be used in manufacturing process?
    If they being sold must they be presentable, etc? You catch my drift.
    If they to be used in a manufacturing process, how many parts would you be able to get out of a template before you have to make a new one.

    Then all these cutting methods have their pro's and con's. To many to list but in short some are cheaper but will leave you bit headache's like burr's.
    Some will be very expensive etc etc etc.

    If you enjoy the R&D like I do and if you can afford it I would still consider getting a machine and playing around with all the different materials. But off course like with everything in life there will also be a steep learning curve.
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Quote Originally Posted by ViperR View Post
    To get things back on track. You've listed quite a couple of materials with different properties, instead of looking at a cutting option why don't you first see which materials rises above the rest. There will definitely be winners and losers (Like You mentioned). The other aspects off course is cost if you can make something from paper why go make it from steel if you know what I mean.

    Guess if it was me I would make a couple of say your first couple of designs look at cost of material versus functionality. Then only look at cutting options and tolerances.
    You mentioned sever-hundred items. You going to make mistakes so let rather call it 1400 items.

    Next these parts you want to make are they to be sold or are they just templates that will be used in manufacturing process?
    If they being sold must they be presentable, etc? You catch my drift.
    If they to be used in a manufacturing process, how many parts would you be able to get out of a template before you have to make a new one.

    Then all these cutting methods have their pro's and con's. To many to list but in short some are cheaper but will leave you bit headache's like burr's.
    Some will be very expensive etc etc etc.

    If you enjoy the R&D like I do and if you can afford it I would still consider getting a machine and playing around with all the different materials. But off course like with everything in life there will also be a steep learning curve.
    Thanks -much to consider...

    They are to be presentable in finish - small simple flat sheets of material approx 100 x 75 -with simple geometric line pattern ( I'm guessing max 400/500mm total length of cut per item, including perimeter cut) -to allow various tabs to be folded out from the plane at various angles on either side- and (sort-of) hold that bent shape without springing back.

    Will keep working on the hand-cut cardboard/ alu sheet model for now-fortunately I have some time in hand for this, and some spare stanley blades!

    ( would love to get my own machine to play R&D with! -but.....you know,.....more than peanuts?!
    Last edited by Patrick L; 2020/04/24 at 07:17 PM.
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    If you have bending tabs canít we safely say that youíve eliminated wood from your list of materials?
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Would 3D printing perhaps be an option?
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Quote Originally Posted by ViperR View Post
    If you have bending tabs can’t we safely say that you’ve eliminated wood from your list of materials?
    Quite probably -but not absolutely!

    I'm obviously not looking at this scale of work, but in principle one can 'bend' plywoods and select solid woods a fair bit!

    I also wondered- can a laser be set and regulated to cut only a limited depth into the material ( ie. - effectively laser 'milling/etching')- ?
    would one be able to cut, say only 1.5/2 mm deep into 3 mm plywood- or, say .5mm deep into 1/1,5 mm stainless/alu/steel sheet?

    Last edited by Patrick L; 2020/04/25 at 10:59 AM.
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    Default Re: Laser cutting parameters/materials?

    Quote Originally Posted by thabogrobler View Post
    Would 3D printing perhaps be an option?
    possibly -for prototype only,though
    -I think a good finish is generally difficult to achieve, and costs would be quite high, I imagine.
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