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Laser Cutting Machines

  1. Jul 28, 2010 #1
    Just curious after watching some lasers cutting 5mm thick steel sheets very fast, what is exactly cutting the steel?

    Is it just a laser beam? Light only? The machines run on bottles of gas, so if not, what exactly is the beam made of?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 28, 2010 #2
    Yes, the material is cut using the laser beam. Light only. The used lasers are high power gas lasers. Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_cutting

    To keep up the high power output you need a rather pure gas atmosphere. Sadly you can't just seal the resonator tube and let it be, because the laser beam starts reactions disassociating the gas molecules and leading to impurities. Depending on the machine design, this lasing gas is either continually replaced or replaced after a certain period of time.

    The gas tubes you have seen are likely either used for that purpose or for assist gas. The assist gas is blown on the sheet to remove molten material and speed up the production. Nitrogen is the most common assist gas out there, as it also inhibits oxidization along the edges.
  4. Jul 28, 2010 #3
    thanks. further reading: :eek:n the principle of converting electrical energy to a laser light output with the gas:, understand more now.

    amazing the end result is just light that cuts so fast & so precise. Even cut wood & hardly burned it. The nozzles are super high heat resistance.
  5. Jul 28, 2010 #4
    The light beam melts/vapourises the material and that's what does the cutting, like any heat cutting system it'll leave a heat affected zone around the cut.
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