What Laser Cutting Machine to Buy: A Comprehensive Guide

I. Introduction

The laser cutting machine is an advanced equipment that utilizes laser beams to cut various materials. It’s mainly composed of two parts: a CNC control system and a machine tool.

So, how does the laser-cutting machine get the job done?

First, an operator needs to input the designed drawing into the CNC system which will deliver instructions calculated into the processing machine tool.

Due to the relative movement of the cutting head and the workpiece, lined and narrow cutting silts are formed to finish the cutting.

Laser-cutting machines are widely used in metal processing, aerospace, vehicle manufacturing, and other fabrication industries.

It can cut materials like carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminium alloy and titanium alloy, wood and acryllics. It can cut, engrave, punch holes, and weld.

However, to ensure its performance, daily maintenance is important. By virtue of its advanced processing quality and wide application spheres, the machine emerges as one of the most crucial equipments for morden manufacturing.

The selection of laser cutting machines directly decides productivity, product quaity, costs and market competitive forces for a manufacturing enterprise.

Therefore, the intelligent selection of laser cutters paves the way for the opportunity to win in market competitions and sustainable development.

Thus, metal processing companies and individuals interested in laser cutters should value all kinds of factors including laser powers, materials to be processed, automatization, cost-effectiveness, after-sale services based on personal demand so as to choose the most suitable one.

II. Factors to Consider When Buying

When purchasing laser cutters, some of the key elements as follows should be considered:

Laser Type and Power

Suitable laser type and power are crucial. Different materials suit different types:

CO2 laser cutters are suitable for non-metal and thin metal plates with power ranging from 500W to 4000W.

Fiber laser cutters are suitable for cutting metals by virtue of faster speeds with power ranging from 500W to 2000W.

Relatively thin carbon steel and stainless steel can be cut by low-power fiber lasers(500W-2000W), while thick materials require more power.

Copper, grass, and other highly reflective materials require fiber lasers that are powered by over 6000w.

Therefore, the most economical and efficient laser type and power should be selected based on the materials to be processed and their thickness.

Cutting Bed Size

The size of the cutting table decides the range of processing sizes.

The too small size of the table will limit the workpiece sizes, resulting in lower productivity; too large will occupy extra rooms, and higher costs.

Therefore, it’s essential to select proper cutting table sizes according to production shapes and sizes.

Cutting Speed and Precision

Cutting speed and precision directly influence the productivity and quality of products:

The speed of fiber laser cutters exceeds 30m/min, faster than CO2 lasers. High-power and quality laser cutters can reach higher levels.

Besides, their positioning accuracy should be controlled within 0.05mm and repeat accuracy within 0.03mm. What’s more, the speed and accuracy should be balanced so that the accuracy will not be reduced as a result of pursuing speed.

Material Compatibility

A laser cutter should be capable of processing various common metals and non-metals.

Carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum alloy are the most common metals. They should be capable of cutting highly reflective materials, like copper and grass, and hard-to-machine materials, like titanium and nickel.

In addition, other non-metal materials should also be taken into account, such as wood, acrylic, and textile. The more compatible the machine is, the higher utilization is the machine.

Automation and Additional Features

Automation and additional features are beneficial to improve productivity and product quality. Here are some of the advantages I wish to explain to you:

First, automation contains functions of automatic focusing, auromatic edge seeking and automatic avoidance, which greatly reduuces the labor inference. Automaric loading and unloading system allows for labor free production.

In addition, automatic height adjustment and an anti-collision device can prevent the cutting head from being damaged.

Double-platform alternating operation improves cutting efficiency. Thus, it’s important to choose the most valuable functional combination based on actual dimensions.

Brand Reputation and Customer Support

laser cutting machine

It’s widely believed that brand reputation and customer support matter when choosing products. The reasons are explained as follows:

Premium brands ensure equipment quality and stability so we should corporate with manufacturers who boasts profund technology strengths and independent intellectual property rights.

What’s more, brands with reputation have comprehensive trainning and necessary after-sale services, including maintenace and fault response. They can also ensure long-term supply for prone-worn workpiece and components.

Laser cutters purchasing is a kind of large-scale investment, so the brand reputation and customer support are closely related to the long-term benifits.

Based on the descriptions in detail I explained to you, we can safely jump to the conclusion that many factors are equally important for choosing a laser-cutting machine. Therefore, we should consider laser parameters, sizes, speed accuracy, material compatibility, automation, and other factors.

Enterprises or individuals should consider production demand and balance various elements so as to choose the most promising machine that delivers opportunities for companies to win first in market competitions.

III. Top Laser Cutting Machines to Consider

At present, there are three main types of laser cutters worthy of consideration in the market: CO2 laser cutting machines, fiber laser cutting machines, and hybrid laser cutting machines.

I believe you are wondering about more. Don’t worry; I will discuss the pros and cons and recommended models in detail so that they can serve as a reference for you when purchasing.

CO2 Laser Cutting Machines

CO2 laser cutting machines are among the most widely applied and advanced machines. They utilize laser generators to irradiate high-density power with 10.6μm wavelengths, which are focused onto the surface of the workpiece by focusing lenses.

In this way, the surface of the materials melts or evaporates. At last, the melt is blown out by assisting gases, and the cutting procedures are finished.

Pros

They cut fast with high efficiency. When it comes to compatibility, it allows for multiple non-metal cutting, including wood, acrylic and plastics.

As for metals, such as carbon steel and stainless steel within 25mm in thickness, they also perform well. In other aspects, they produce high-quality cuts, vertical cutting surfaces and small heat-affected areas.

Cons

The machine also has its weaknesses. For example, their light-electricity transformation rate is relatively low, ranging in 10 to15%. The costs of this kind of machine are high. Therefore, large power CO2 laser cutting machines and their supporting facilities are expensive.

Besides, the consumables, like lasers and reflective mirrors, need to be changed regularly which leads to high operation and maintenance expenses. CO2 laser cutters are also unsuitable for high-reflective metals like aluminum and copper.

Recommended Models

  1. TRUMPF: TruLaser 3030/5030 CO2 laser cutting machine imported from Germany with first-class quality.

Fiber Laser Cutting Machines

The fiber laser cutting machine is the most developed machine in recent years. It adopts fiber lasers as a light source and transfers laser into the cutting heads through fibers. Then lasers focused on the surface of the materials by focusing lenses will finish the cutting.

Compared with CO2 laser cutting machines, fiber cutters enjoy higher light-electricity transformation, better laser beams, and faster cutting speed.

Pros

Three times the photoelectric conversion efficiency of CO2 laser cutters and fiber cutters exceed 30%, so they are environmentally friendly and energy-saving.

With better laser beams, small focused light spots and hsigh accuracy, they are especially suitable for thin plate cutting. They cut fastly and their speeds are twice or more than those of CO2 laser cuttets with the same power.

Fiber transmission with simple light paths and maintenance-free quality reduce the operation costs. The sevice life of core components lasts for over 100,000h, which means they are highly reliable.

Cons

Most of their components depend on imports, so the machine is expensive. They are unsuitable for non-metals, like wood and acrylic.

Their cutting edges weaken when cutting materials with a thickness of over 30mm. In addition, they also have difficulties in dealing with highly reflective metals like aluminum and copper.

Recommended Models:

  1. TRUMPF: TruLaser 5030 fiber laser cutting machine imported high-end brand with extraordinary quality.

Hybrid Laser Cutting Machines

Hybrid Laser Cutting Machines

Hybrid laser cutting machines integrate two kinds of light sources from CO2 laser cutting machines and fiber laser cutting machines.

Light sources can be altered flexibly based on requirements. They have the advantages of CO2 laser cutting machines and fiber laser cutters.

Therefore, they can cut metals and non-metals and are widely applied. However, due to complicated structures, they cost more.

Pros

They can cut multiple materials, including metal and non-metals. They allow for the upgradation of cutting parameters for various materials. They suit small batches of productions.

Cons

They are expensive, costing 1.5 to 2 times that of a single light source cutting machine with equivalent power. With intricate stuctures, they post high requirements on the optical switch control. A relatively high broken rate requires higher maintenance expenses.

Recommended Models

  1. AMADA: ENSIS-3015 AJ hybrid laser cutting machines made in Japan.
  2. TRUMPF: TruLaser 5030 fiber & CO2 laser cutting machines

Generally speaking, CO2 laser cutting machines, fiber laser cutting machines, and hybrid laser cutting machines each have their own pros and cons and suit different sectors.

Thus, consumers should take the factors I listed above into account in order to choose the most valuable one. I hope my article can help you.

IV. Budgeting and Cost Considerations

TypeEntry-Level Laser Cutting MachinesMid-Range Laser Cutting MachinesHigh-End Laser Cutting Machines
Costshundreds of dollars to thousands of dollarstens of thousands of dollars, around 41000 to 110000 dollarsHundreds of thousands of dollars
Applicable materialswood, acrylic, paper and other thin materialsmedium-thickness metal sheetmetals such as stainless steel and carbon steel with a thickness of up to 25mm
Efficiencylow power and speed and limited processingTheir speed and accuracy are higher than entry-level laser cutting machines.High cutting efficiency, with speeds reaching 1.5 to 2 times that of mid-range laser cutting machines
Featuressimple facilities, easy operationRicher facilities which can fix different power of laser cuttershigh-end facilities; imported components with high stability
Suitable usersbeginners and small businessesmost small and medium-sized enterprisesHigh-end manufacturing sector
Maintenance costslowmediumhigh

Based on the chart, enterprises and individuals should select machines based on personal production demands, financial strengths and development plans.

It’s suggested that entry- and mid-level laser cutters with high-cost performance be chosen at the beginning and high-end laser cutters later after the accumulation of business and finance.

At the same time, premium brands are your choices. Brands with reputation guarantee post-sale services and component supply, which can extend products’ lifespan.

V. Conclusion

In this article, I have provided you with a comprehensive guide for purchasing a laser cutting machine. Whether you are an expert or a novice in the field, I hope my article can serve as an inference for you.

At the end of the article, I want to give final recommendations. When purchasing, you should consider all kinds of factors, such as the cutting material, laser type, power, accuracy, environmental protection, and cost-effectiveness. Demands should be listed to compare in many aspects.

If necessary, you can also ask the professionals for help. Our company, established in 1982, boasts professional experts and operators. We are one of the leading exporters in China.

AHD Machine Tool boasts 4 decades of laser cutting machine R&D history and is one of the leading exporters in China. Our products perform well in accuracy, efficiency, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and quality. It will be an intelligent selection of you.

Therefore, our laser cutting machines which guarantee accuracy, efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness, are your wise choices. If you are interested in our laser cutters, please view our product page. Welcome to contact us.

laser cutting machine

VI. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the typical cutting precision and speed capabilities?

Generally, cutting precision and speed are affected by many factors.

Cutting precision: the processing accuracy of a laser cutter generally ranges from ±0.1mm to ±0.3mm, which enables the efficient assistant to produce precise components and complicated patterns.

Cutting speed: Normally, a laser cutting machine can reach a high speed. For example, the speed of a fiber laser cutting machine with medium power can reach 10m per minute when cutting carbon steel with of 1mm thickness. For thin plates, they can even reach 100m per minute.

What auxiliary equipment is essential for a laser cutting machine?

The following auxiliary equipment is needed to ensure cutting quality and efficiency:

Cooling system: A large amount of heat will be generated during cutting. However, the cooling system(such as the cooler) cools the lasers and the optical system to keep steady operation.

Auxiliary Gas System: Oxygen, nitrogen, or air as auxiliary gases can blow the melt in the cutting area and narrow heat-affected areas, leading to improved cutting quality and speed.

Exhaust System: smoke and poisonous gases will be generated during the cutting, so the exhaust system absorbs waste of smoke and gases to protect the health of operators and the environment.

How to properly maintain and service a laser cutting machine?

Proper maintenance and service are the key elements affecting the lifespan of the machine.

Clean regularly: the cutting head, reflective mirrors and focusing lenses should be cleaned regularly to keep the clean light paths and avoid optical components being damaged.

Check cooling system: regular checks ensure sound operation and prevent the laser and optical components from overheating.

Check and replace auxiliary gas: check pressure and gas flow to ensure sufficient gas supply during cutting. If necessary, the gas cylinder should be changed.

Maintenance of mechanical components: regularly inspect and maintain mechanical transmission systems, such as guides, gears, and screws, to ensure smooth and error-free operation of the mechanical transmission.



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