Laser Cutting Articles

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Technology Spotlight: Reading the laser cutting beam—there’s an app for that

February 1, 2017 | By Tim Heston

Precitec’s cutting head senses trouble in real time, and communicates via Bluetooth directly to an operator’s phone or tablet.

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Back to basics: The subtle science of burr-free laser cutting

January 25, 2017 | By Tim Heston

Attaining a burr-free cut is about setting up the laser beam parameters and gas flow dynamics to work together to ensure the right amount of molten metal evacuates the kerf at the right time and in the right way.

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3 things you should know about air-assisted laser cutting

January 6, 2017 | By Robert Farrell

Laser cutting with nitrogen as an assist gas is still the No. 1 choice for applications in which edge quality is critical. Air as an assist gas, however, might work in some not-so-critical applications, and its use will generate sustainable cost and time savings while boosting productivity.

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Shaping the laser beam for the best cut

January 4, 2017 | By Tim Heston

The Fraunhofer Institute in Germany has developed a system that quickly oscillates the beam in specific patterns as it cuts, welds, or otherwise processes material. These patterns have the effect of “shaping” a laser beam, allowing the technician to tailor the beam’s shape to fit the application.

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Sheet metal blanking milestone: Continuous-feed laser blanking launches into production

October 4, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Earlier this year Worthington Specialty Processing, a toll processor serving the automotive industry, among others, installed a continuous-feed, coil-fed laser blanking line. An idea with roots in the 1990s has finally become reality.

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Is this laser cutting lens damaged?

September 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Laser operators and maintenance technicians have a new diagnostic tool: a tiny crossed polarizer, which can detect lens stress. The crossed polarizer clips onto a smartphone and utilizes the phone’s polarized flat-panel display.

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Heating up with a new punch/laser combo

September 1, 2016 | By Dan Davis

ACP Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, needed the speed and flexibility of modern fabricating technology to increase its manufacturing capacity as it looked to manufacturer two new product lines in its only domestic manufacturing facility.

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A fabricator founded on operator skill

August 3, 2016 | By Tim Heston

In quiet, rural New Ulm, Minn., technicians at DLC Manufacturing & Fabrication are perfecting the craft of cutting and bending sheet metal and plate, making clean cuts in steel 1.5 in. thick (and even thicker). It’s a small shop where skill runs deep.

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Reducing headaches associated with slag on laser grating

August 2, 2016 | By Dave Fox, Eric Chalmers, Mark Jeans

Slats in a laser cutting machine don't look important, but they can be the key to an efficient laser cutting operation. Fabricators need to stay on top of keeping slag off the slats to achieve high-quality parts and to ensure the laser cutting machine remains in operation.

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Coil-fed fabricating

July 11, 2016 | By Dan Davis

Most manufacturers associate coil processing with the metal forming industry. They also likely assume the punching and laser cutting combination machines consume sheet metal. Elleci S.p.A., a metal fabricator in northern Italy, has a new line in place that will require many manufacturers to alter their preconceived notions about coil consumption in a fabricating facility.

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A ticket of entry to laser cutting

July 5, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Alkras has introduced a laser small enough to fit on the gantry of a cutting table. It’s being marketed as a ticket of entry for those fab shops—especially small ones—that have not yet entered the laser cutting arena.

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Cutting to the chase on gas delivery for CO2 lasers

June 29, 2016 | By John Karpus

A working knowledge of the ways in which purity, pressure, and flow affect how lasers use gases is key to setting up a gas delivery system that both works correctly and is cost-effective.

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3 questions to ask for better laser cutting

June 28, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Brent Donner, president of DLC Manufacturing and Fabrication, has spent almost a decade as a laser cutting consultant. Over that time he has noticed several fundamentals that many operators miss: properly cleaning and polishing the optics, centering the nozzle, and calibrating the beam focus.

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Best practices for laser cutting tube, pipe, profiles

April 18, 2016 | By Eric Lundin

Interviews with BLM, LVD Strippit, Mazak, and TRUMPF reveal tips and tactics for buying, handling, cleaning, cutting tube. Other topics include machine maintenance, software upgrades, and operator training.

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Laser cutting in a new light

April 13, 2016 | By Dan Davis

In the past, lighting manufacturers introduced product designs that might last 10 years. Because of the lengthy product lifetime and volumes, these manufacturers didn't think twice about relying on hard tooling. Today product designs change regularly, and the constant evolution of LED technology means a manufacturer has to react quickly. For TAMCO, Port St. Lucie, Fla., that meant it needed its own laser cutting capability.

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