Technology is fascinating and people are always developing new ideas to improve it. For the most part, these ideas help people complete tasks in a more efficient way. There are several different lasers used in laser cutting, particularly when cutting sheet metal. These lasers range from gas lasers, like the CO2 laser, to the solid-state lasers, like fibre and direct diode lasers. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the material being cut.
A CO2 laser is one that uses carbon dioxide to create the laser. The electrical currents travel through a tube full of CO2. This creates the laser, which is then focused by a series of mirrors. The laser created is extremely strong; it can cut through cloth, wood, and steel. The practice of using lasers to cut sheet metal originated with the CO2 laser. This technology can cut through thicker metals. When this occurs, it also tends to produce a smoother finish than other lasers do. Because it utilizes a three-axis system, there are several different ways to use CO2 lasers, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
At first glance, fibre lasers are at a disadvantage. A CO2 laser can cut through a piece of thick sheet metal quicker than a fibre laser can. However, there are several advantages to fibre lasers. Fibre lasers are a type of solid-state laser. This means that, unlike CO2 lasers, which are created by travelling through gases, it is a solid conductor for the electric currents that help to form the laser. Fibre lasers tend to be more efficient with the energy that they use. They also do not have mirrors or fans in the machine, which makes using fibre lasers cheaper than using CO2 lasers. Fibre lasers have another advantage as well; while CO2 lasers can cut through thicker sheet metal quicker, fibre lasers cut through thinner sheet metal quicker. This is also a technology that is better suited to cutting materials that would reflect the laser. These metals include copper, aluminium, and brass. Aluminium laser cutting, for example, can damage a CO2 laser. A fibre laser, however, will not be damaged.
Direct diode lasers are another type of solid-state laser. This is the newest of the solid-state lasers, and, as the name suggests, uses the diodes in the laser directly. This is accomplished by bypassing the fibre stage. This helps make the laser more effective and allows it to be more focused. They are said to be inferior to fibre lasers, though as technology improves, this may change. The laser has gotten stronger as technologies change, and direct diode lasers have been used while cutting sheet metals. Like with fibre lasers, there is less risk of reflections damaging the laser, so they can be used for aluminium laser cutting as well.
There are different types of lasers that can be used for laser cutting. While each has their own advantages and disadvantages, the technologies are continually growing and becoming more refined. Laser cutting allows for more precise work and different lasers can achieve that for different types of metal.