Laser Cutting

About

 

What is Laser Cutting

Laser cutting is a technology that uses a laser to cut through materials. Depending on the type of material used, the laser either burns, melts or vaporizes it away in the areas that are directly in the path of the laser. A computer numerical control (CNC) guides the laser and allows programmed shapes and patterns to be created in the material.

Laser cutting has many benefits, including:

  • A high degree of accuracy to a fraction of a millimeter.

  • Relatively low cost and fast turnaround.

  • Results are easily reproducible, making the creation of batches of components easy.

As such, laser cutting is commonly used in the creation of scale models, signs, jewellery and many other industries.

In addition to cutting cleanly through the material, laser cutters can also be used to etch or engrave the surface of the material to produce different effects. Please read on below to learn more about the differences between these methods.

 
 
In order from left to right : Cutting, Vector engraving, Raster engraving. Top: 3mm MDF Bottom : 2mm Clear acrylic.

In order from left to right : Cutting, Vector engraving, Raster engraving.
Top: 3mm MDF
Bottom : 2mm Clear acrylic.

 

Cutting, Etching & Engraving

CUTTING

The material is cut all the way through. Either the positive or the negative of the resulting material can be used for the desired purpose.

We have found that the laser vaporises about 0.15mm on either side of the line that it is following. Thus, when making parts that have to fit inside each other, such as clear acrylic windows inside an opening. We have found that increasing the offset of the inner piece by 0.3mm ensures a tight fit. This is only a guide as the laser may behave differently depending on type of material and thickness.

VECTOR ENGRAVING

Similar to cutting, the material is marked with the laser set at a lower power instead, resulting in a shallow engraved line.

Vector engraving is useful if you want line patterns on your material without cutting all the way through. The thin lines can also be used as guides to help in positioning and assembling your final design.

RASTER ENGRAVING

Desired areas of the material are filled in with shallow engravings. Different effects can be applied to the filled in areas as shown below.

 

Different types of raster engraving

We can also raster engrave images such as JPEG’s. When doing so, several different styles are available to achieve different effects. Shown in this picture is the same image engraved on MDF in binary, dithering and dot grid styles.

 
MDF Etch Fill Sample.jpg
 
Coasters.jpg
 

Pricing

Price for laser cutting is calculated based on:

  • Set up fee

  • Materials - sold in half or full sheets (refer to the materials page for further information)

  • Optional extras - eg. application tape, adhesive

  • Machine time - charged per minute

  • Delivery (if applicable)

Further charges may apply if design services are required. However, do not hesitate to contact us with your project as we are happy to discuss your design with you without charge.

To minimize your cost, please read the file formatting page to ensure efficiency in your design.