WHICH METAL CUTTING SERVICE IS BEST FOR YOU?

There are many methods you could choose to cut metal. The best one for you depends on several factors, the two main ones being the thickness of the metal and the intricacy of the components you require. Is laser cutting the right metal cutting service for your needs? Or should you choose plasma or water jet cutting instead?

Below we explain how each popular metal cutting service works and compare their pros and cons.

HOW DOES LASER CUTTING WORK?

Laser cutting is a process which works by directing a concentrated beam of light (the laser), to cut shapes out of your chosen material, in this case metal. The metal then melts, burns, vaporises or is blown away, leaving a high-quality cut edge.

Fibre laser cutting technology cuts more complex shapes and small diameter holes at similar or faster speeds than other metal cutting methods.

HOW DOES PLASMA CUTTING WORK?

Plasma cutters work by sending a pressurised gas, such as nitrogen, argon, or oxygen, through a narrow channel. In the centre of the channel there is a negatively charged electrode. Power is applied to the negative electrode and the tip of the nozzle touches the metal, the connection creates a circuit. A powerful spark is generated between the electrode and the metal generating immense heat which cuts through your chosen material.

WHY CHOOSE LASER CUTTING?

If you think that laser cutting might be the right metal cutting service for you but aren’t quite sure, read a bit more detail about the process.LEARN MORE

HOW DOES WATER JET CUTTING WORK?

A waterjet cutter is capable of slicing through metal or other materials using a jet of water at extremely high pressure and velocity. For some materials just water is used, but metal requires a mixture of water and an abrasive substance, usually crushed garnet. Each abrasive grain that passes through wears away a little bit of the material. Because each abrasive particle only removes a tiny amount of material, very little heat is generated. Also any heat that is produced is quickly cancelled out by the stream of water. The constant momentum of the water stream keeps the abrasive particles moving in a straight line after they exit the focusing tube. As a result the cut edge is extremely straight and accurate.

Some waterjet cutting machines can cut metal up to 300mm thick.

MECHANICAL CUTTING

The definition of mechanical cutting is when a cutting head or blade is in physical contact with the material during the cutting process. It covers everything from a handsaw to drill presses, lathes and CNC milling machines. The main disadvantage to mechanical cutting methods is that the cutting edge or head deteriorates constantly as it cuts, leading to a variation in the quality and accuracy of the cut edge. The physical contact of the cutting head or blade also generates heat caused by friction which can distort or affect the properties of the material being cut.

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