Laser Cutting Systems
Laser light may be used to cut and score a wide variety of materials. With a
laser cutting machine like this, paper and plastic can easily be scored and
cut very precisely. Even plywood up to 1/4" thick can be cut on this small
machine. Larger industrial machines can cut metal as well. Typically the
plotting rate and power of the laser are modulated to select various levels of
scoring and cutting.
This particular machine process is used primarily to create architectural models out
of plastic. It has a cutting area of 3 feet by 2 feet, but larger machines
have cutting areas of 8 feet by 4 feet. The major components are the gas
tanks, the laser plotter itself, and the controller.
These tanks provide nitrogen gas that is used to limit the burn rate when
flamable materials like paper are being cut.
A program on this PC reads a user's AutoCad DXF file from a floppy disk and
controls the laser cutter. Profiles for the current material being cut are set
by the operator here.
The laser plotter is a mechanical 2D positioning mechanism driven by motors.
The laser is mounted in the back.
Small mirrors are used to guide light from the laser to a particular location
on the material.
The base of the cutting area is made from a honeycomb material to let the
laser light pass through. This has to be replaced periodically.
Scoring and multiple cutting layers are indicated by labeling the layers 1S,
2C and 3C in the input DXF file. The lines to be scored are given by the layer
labeled 1S. All scoring is done before cutting is started. The width of the
cuts and scores is approximately 0.009" on this machine.
Any number of cutting layers are given by layers 2C, 3C, etc. These are cut in
numerical order. Multiple cut passes are needed for parts that have holes in
them. First the holes are cut, then the shape of the piece is cut. This avoids
problems that may occur due to parts shifting after being cut. A sample DXF
file is given here for your perusal.
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LIOA - Also Known As The: Laser Institute of America
ASLMS - AKA The: The American Society for
Medicine & Surgery, Inc.
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Some content on this page excerpted from the article:
The Laser Cutting Machine
By: Paul Haeberli,