What’s the Difference Between CNC Cutting and Laser Cutting?

If you work in the cutting industry, chances are you have heard of both laser cutting and CNC cutting, also known as CNC routing. However, you might not be entirely sure what each of these cutting machines does and which one you should be using for your cutting needs.

Don’t worry if this is the case, as the below blog will explain everything you need to know about both a laser cutting machine and a CNC cutter, including what are the benefits of each one of these popular cutting tools.

CNC Machines

CNC machines, or CNC routers, are automated cutting tools that follow a set programmed path through computer numerical control. They use a contact-based cutting process for enhanced flexibility and versatility. CNC cutting is achieved through friction.

CNC cutters such as our profile cutting machines can cut materials such as plastic, foam, wood, composites and acrylic. They are also ideal for cutting steel, aluminium and other metal plates to specific specifications.

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Laser Cutting Machines

Laser cutting machines are also computer-controlled, but when it comes to the actual cutting, a high powered laser beam is used to cut through the materials. Laser cutting is achieved through heat.

Laser cutters can be used to cut the same materials as CNC machines, including metal, glass, plastic foam, gemstones, wood and paper. However, one laser cutting machine can perform multiple processes at once, which a CNC machine cannot.

What are the main differences between the two cutting methods?

CNC cutting is done through direct contact of the tool with the object that is being cut. With laser cutting, there is no direct contact as the cutting is carried out from a distance using laser beams. In addition, CNC cutting is widely used by small businesses, whereas laser cutting is more popular in large industries.

A CNC cutter also cannot be used for welding, but a laser cutter can be used for welding.

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Why choose CNC cutting?

One of the main reasons why people choose CNC cutting over laser cutting is that it is more affordable. Not only are CNC cutting machines cheaper to purchase, but their power consumption costs are also lower.

CNC cutters also make diagonal, curved and straight lines with ease, providing a smooth edged finish that you cannot get with manual cutting.

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Why choose laser cutting?

Although the more expensive option, laser cutting machines do have several advantages over CNC cutters. One of the most crucial plus points is that laser cutters offer a level of precision that just isn’t possible with a friction-based cutting device, which means you have more creative control when cutting or engraving with a laser. You can also enjoy cleaned, and sealed edges as laser cutting involves burning, which results in a higher quality finished product.

Both CNC cutting and laser cutting are highly efficient and flexible methods used in the fabrication of precision parts and components within the manufacturing industry. If you are still not sure which cutting process you need, contact us here today, and our experienced and knowledgeable team will endeavour to help you make the right choice for your business.

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