American Metal Fab: Cutting Through Complexity Dives into the Nuances of Laser Cutting

Venturing into the intricate world of laser cutting, this article unravels the dynamics and nuances of this precise metalworking technique. Laser cutting emerges as a versatile method, offering square side cuts in thin metals (1 mm or less) when optimized cut parameters are employed. However, as metal thickness increases, achieving perfect squareness becomes more challenging, introducing a taper of approximately 1/1000 of the sheet thickness up to 6 mm thickness.

Striations and Surface Roughness:

Striations, a result of the laser melting process, are present and become coarser with increasing metal thickness. Continuous wave (CW) CO2 laser cutting yields surface roughness values of 8–15 µm in 1.6 mm thick cold-rolled steel and 30–35 µm in mild steel. Surface roughness for stainless steels typically ranges from 30–50 µm in thin-gauge sheets when using oxygen-assist, with nitrogen gas capable of reducing this roughness to 10 µm in 2 mm thick applications.

Heat-Affected Zone (HAZ) Control:

Careful control of beam, gas, and process rate parameters enables manufacturers to manage the heat-affected zone (HAZ) of mild steel. Typical HAZ values are 0.5 mm with continuous wave CO2 lasers and 0.15 mm with pulsed CO2 lasers in 3 mm thick mild steel. Striation-free cutting of thin metal sheets becomes achievable with fiber laser cutting technology.

Click here explore American Metal Fab’s capabilities

Article with all rights reserved, courtesy of