Laser cutting: all applications for sheet metal and copper

Laser cutting is a particularly economical, cost-effective, flexible and precise cutting process for metallic materials, which can be processed at various thicknesses.

CUTTING SHEET METAL AND COPPER WITH A LASER

Laser cutting is used when complex two-dimensional shapes need to be cut quickly and precisely and / or if it is necessary for a material to be processed without making any contact and thus without any force being exerted. Laser cutting is popular due to its many benefits, particularly in the industrial sector. Our JustLaser laser machines offer the ideal technology for cutting sheet metal and copper with a laser. Be convinced by the accuracy, the high throughput speeds and productivity of our lasers!

WHAT IS LASER CUTTING?

When cutting sheet metal and copper with a laser, a highly focussed laser beam is aimed at a material, causing material in the cutting joint to be vaporised or to melt (either with or without oxygen blown in). A wide range of precise cuts can be made in materials up to 8 mm thick with the high-quality laser machines from JustLaser. There are three different types of laser cutting depending on which material is used and how the material escapes from the cutting gap – either as vapour, in a liquid state or as an oxidation product:

  • Laser flame cutting
  • Laser fusion cutting
  • Sublimation cutting

Our laser machines

LASER CUTTING SHEET METAL AND COPPER

The term “metal sheets” refers to any metal rolling mill products whose width and length exceed its thickness. Almost any metal can be processed into a sheet. Steel sheets are primarily used in mechanical engineering, automotive construction, railway vehicle construction, shipbuilding, steel construction and bridge construction, for household devices, toys and signs, as well as in fab labs and unis.

Thanks to its good electrical and thermal conductivity, copper is a popular material and is used as a component for electronics and electronic technology.

WHICH MATERIALS CAN BE CUT USING A LASER?

The laser machines from JustLaser are suitable for cutting sheet metal and copper with a laser, as well as the following other metals:

  • Precious metals (gold, silver, platinum)
  • Non-ferrous metal (aluminium, magnesium, brass, bronze, tin, nickel, zinc zircon, etc.)
  • Construction steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Titanium

THE BENEFITS OF LASER CUTTING

Cutting sheet metal and copper with a laser cutter is enjoying great popularity thanks to numerous benefits, particularly in the industrial sector. As it is a contactless cutting process and no force is exerted on the material, there is no deformation or damage to the surface. Furthermore, in contrast to alternative methods, there are no on-going, expensive maintenance works, which is why laser cutting is so cost-effective. Rely on highly precise results with JustLaser laser machines! Thanks to their particularly fine cutting joints, even elaborate cutting works can be carried out without any problems and with high precision and quality. Depending on the material and the laser cutting process chosen, no or only minimal post-processing work will be necessary.

WHICH PROCESSES ARE USED FOR CUTTING SHEET METAL AND COPPER WITH A LASER?

The processes used for laser cutting – laser flame cutting, laser fusion cutting and sublimation cutting – are dependent on the metal from which a metal sheet is made. The semi-precious metal copper is more complex to cut than other materials. Not only does it have a high melting point of 1,085°C, it also has a high level of thermal conductivity, which is why the heat applied by the laser quickly diffuses into the workpiece. A high output level (supported by a cutting gas if necessary) is needed in order to produce as narrow a cutting joint as possible in copper. This is why the laser flame cutting process is used for the semi-precious metal.

  • Laser flame cutting: in laser flame cutting, oxygen is used as a cutting gas and as an additional energy supplier, whereby exothermic oxidation processes start from a specific temperature when the material is melted using a laser. It is often necessary to carry out post-processing work with laser flame cutting as, unlike in laser fusion cutting, the process causes the edges to be oxidised, resulting in the formation of burrs. However, the formation of burrs can be largely avoided if the laser parameters are properly defined.
  • Laser fusion cutting: In laser fusion cutting, a metal – frequently aluminium alloys or stainless steel – are melted due to the heating effect of the laser beam. Furthermore, an inert gas (typically nitrogen, rarely argon) is usually blown into the cutting joint, which significantly reduces oxidation in the cutting gap and drives the melted material out. A high-performance solid-state laser is usually beneficial for this method
  • Sublimation cutting: The special thing about sublimation cutting is that the laser causes the material to be immediately vaporised without having to pass into a liquid state. This creates a particular fine, burr-free cut. This process is often used for medical technology.

CUTTING WITH FIBRE LASERS, OTHER SOLID-STATE LASERS OR CO2 LASERS?

Whether you use a fibre laser, another solid laser or a CO2 laser for cutting sheet metal and copper is dependent on the thickness of the sheet and the properties of the material in question. While all three lasers are worth considering for processing a number of metals, copper has somewhat more specific requirements. The use of a solid-state laser or a fibre laser is preferred here. Our laboratory will find the right laser source and the required output for you using your workpiece, your cutting pattern and the desired throughput rate.

Interested in a Metal Laser Cutter?