Dec 30, 2015 Off Comments in Laser Cutting by

Using metal in projects like houses or building has multiple benefits, it is durable, versatile, recyclable, and cost effective. However, there is one problem that you need to consider when using sheet metals, that is the process it takes to work with the material. It is very easy to cut and shape a wood, however, cutting and shaping the metal will need special machinery and the craftsmanship as well. Another concern when dealing with metal sheets is that when the plates have a thickness of 1” or more. With this, waterjet and laser are being used to cut the metal sheets, but of course, both of these methods has its strengths and limitations.
Let us begin with Waterjet Cutting. What is waterjet cutting by the way? To understand waterjet cutting, imagine a waterfall eroding the rock away with so much speed and precision, the water cuts with a force as high as 60,000 psi. This is the reason why waterjet cutting is used to cut thicker materials compared to a laser cutter. Shops chooses waterjet cutting method mainly because:

  1. They cut thicker materials
  2. The heat of the laser interferes with a cut
  3. They also work with other materials such as steel, ceramic, stone and reflective metals
  4. With waterjet, the metal remains flat through the process

On the other hand, let us talk about Laser Cutting. Using the laser cutting method, it is precise and fast, however, the laser cutting is limited to 5/8” thickness. Nowadays, a CAD file is sent to a laser computer to begin cutting, and with the stackable material tower, laser cutting is at its best for large productions. Companies can even run the laser cutting overnight unattended since it is precisely computerized.

With every company or shop, the needs do vary, and to help you further understand the difference between the two cutting methods, below is a chart to show the difference in various aspects:

Laser Cutting                                      Waterjet Cutting

Energy and Source                          Infrared light and gas laser           Water and high pressure pump

Common Cut Materials                Sheet Metal                            Stone, ceramics, untampered

glass, thick metal

Economical Cut Thicknesses        .031” to .4”                           .250” to 2”

To summarize, laser cutting is precise and fast, low noise and low pollution, however when it comes to thickness it has its limitations. On the other hand, waterjet cutting is used since it can cut thicker materials, and aside from metal sheets, it can also cut stones and ceramics. There is no question on which machinery should be used, as each method is useful in its own ways.

At Architectural & Industrial Metal Finishing Company, LLC, our custom laser cutting technology are designed with quality and versatility in mind. To learn more or to see how we can assist you on your custom laser cutting technology needs, contact Architectural & Industrial Metal Finishing Company today.