Laser cutting systems use small, precise lasers to cut shapes out of materials such as metal or wood. Because most lasers are controlled by a computer, they can execute intricate designs that would be difficult to cut by hand. Lasers can create sharp angles, round curves and screw holes. Almost any type of cut is easily handled by laser cutting services.
Laser cutting services can be used to cut anything from metal machine parts to acrylic displays and decorations. Architectural sculptures and woodwork can also be laser cut, along with foam, rubber, PVC, vinyl and others. Here are some things to consider as you choose laser cutting services:
1. Most laser cutting services can only create two-dimensional parts. You can combine multiple two-dimensional pieces to create a three-dimensional model; but if three-dimensionality is essential, it may be best to try another option.
2. If you plan to mass produce material with a laser cutter many laser cutter services offer discounts, depending on how many pieces must be cut. This makes often-used parts cheaper to produce.
3. Plan what construction method you'll use if you need to connect the pieces of your three-dimensional object. This might include screws or tabs sealed in place with glue.
Negotiate a precision laser cutting service manufacturing contractMost places will do prototype and limited-run cutting services with very little hassle, but mass production often requires negotiating a contract. Sometimes discounts are available if you order in bulk or specify that a wide range of quality is acceptable. Generally, large manufacturing contracts are much more open to negotiation. You can often supply your own materials to make the job cheaper, or ask the company to recommend a cheaper material with similar qualities.
Purchase next-day or same-day laser cutter servicesIf you need your parts cut in a hurry, some places will take a rush order for an extra charge. Generally speaking, this kind of service is only used in an emergency, to correct a defective part right before product roll-out or an in-house presentation. Next or same day services can range from laser metal cutting to laser glass cutting service, but you generally must choose from in-stock materials.
Commission custom laser cutting and engraving servicesMany companies offer custom laser cutting service and work with you to design, cut and assemble your parts. Most places stock their own materials in varying thicknesses and colors, but some companies also allow you to send your own material. If you want something unusual cut, be sure to ask if the company can do it. A laser cutting business may require special arrangements or fees.
- Ask your laser cutting service if the material you wish to cut comes masked. Many plastics and some metals come with masking on at least one side. Masking your material helps prevent scorch marks, dents and discolorations in the finished product. Some companies will even mask materials before cutting, if specially requested to.