Considerations to Make Before Selecting Laser Cutting to Fabricate Components

DIY enthusiasts who can invest in their own high quality fabricating equipment now have a wide variety of metal cutting technologies to choose from. Laser cutting is one of the most popular metal cutting technologies due to its unique advantages, such as the high precision with which cuts can be made. However, care must be taken to ensure that this cutting method will not have any adverse effects on the product made. This article discusses two of the most crucial considerations that will confirm to high-end DIY metal fabricators that laser cutting is right for a specific metal component that they would like to fabricate, such as a custom exhaust system.

Impact on the HAZ

A laser cutter generates a lot of heat around the site of the cut. That area around the cut is referred to as the heat affected zone, HAZ. Some metals (such as aluminium) can alter their chemical composition when subjected to intense heat. For example, aluminium can absorb hydrogen during the cutting process. That hydrogen can make the material porous once it cools. It is therefore advisable for you to use laser cutting if the part that you wish to make will not be compromised by any changes that happen in the HAZ. For instance, you can use laser cutting to make fancy trim for your vintage car. Alternatively, you can use techniques that reduce the impact of heat on the material, such as by keeping the area around the cut site cool using water.

Decide the Surface Finish in Advance

You should also decide in advance what type of finish you wish the fabricated component to have. This decision will help you to choose the most appropriate laser cutting technique for your finished product.  For example, it would not be advisable for you to use oxygen as an assist gas during laser cutting if you will powder-coat the finished part. This is because there will be an oxidised layer on the surface of the part that you have cut. The powder coating will attach to this layer instead of being attached on the metal itself. You may incur the added cost of cleaning the part in an acid bath to remove the oxidised layer. Advance knowledge of the powder-coated finish desired would have led you to choose nitrogen as an assist gas since nitrogen does not form that oxidised layer. You should therefore decide the finish you want so that you choose the right cutting technique to achieve that desired outcome cost-effectively.

Pay close attention to the issues above before you start using your laser cutter. Your metal fabrication efforts will yield high-quality outcomes. You can always consult providers of laser cutting services in case you have any queries about using the equipment that you have set up in your workshop.