231 Law

Pros and Cons of Laser Cutting

With the introduction of laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) technology manufacturers have been able to create precise designs very quickly. They use highly focused light beams to shape a range of materials, including plastic, metal, wood and rubber. Machines are also computer programmed, making it easy for users to adjust settings for each material. Although high-powered laser cutters cost many thousands of dollars, manufacturers now offer a wide range of devices, including more affordable models that are popular with hobbyists and small business owners. While the technology is impressive, it includes both pros and cons.

The Benefits of Laser Cutting

Laser devices are excellent options for those who want to:

  • Hold pieces in one position during projects
  • Get extremely accurate results in a very short time
  • Prevent cutting tools from contaminating materials (there is no direct contact between the two)
  • Reduce the chance of harming material, since little heat is generated
  • Adapt cutters for a range of materials and jobs
  • Easily control processes via computer programs
  • Reduce the chance of cutting injuries
  • Make several copies of designs quickly and efficiently

The Disadvantages of Laser Cutting

Despite its many benefits, laser cutting has some drawbacks. For instance:

  • Laser cutting can use up a fair amount of energy, depending on the device and project
  • Areas where cutting takes place must be well ventilated, since materials like plastic can produce toxic fumes during projects
  • Altering rooms to be safe for laser work can be expensive
  • Lasers cannot cut some materials, since some are too thick
  • Metals like aluminum and copper are not good candidates for laser cutting
  • It can be hard to achieve consistent production levels as materials and projects change
  • Mistakes when setting temperatures and distances can harm or even destroy some materials
  • Problems require human intervention, which can lead to burns if proper precautions are not observed

The use of lasers to cut materials has provided businesses of all sizes with new creative opportunities. Laser devices offer exceptional control and can be adapted for many uses. However, they also have drawbacks for some users, including their expense, material limitations and high energy consumption.