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.

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.

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.

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.

Not sure whether you should be using a plasma cutter or a laser cutter for your metal cutting needs? It can be difficult to know which one you need, but you don’t have to guess. You have come to the right place to understand exactly which one you need.

Within the below blog, you will discover:

Ready to get started?

What is plasma cutting?

Plasma cutting is a process that uses compressed air and inert gases such as hydrogen and nitrogen that are passed through a fine nozzle at high speed to create electrically conductive ionised gas, also known as plasma.

Plasma cutting machines are often used on metals that cannot be cut with a flame-based cutting machine.

What is laser cutting?

Laser cutting machines use high powered lasers that are operated by a computer along with nitrogen, oxygen or compressed air to cut through a variety of different metals. These machines are designed for multi-purpose use.

What is the difference between these two cutting processes?

The plasma cutting process is used exclusively for cutting metal such as stainless steel and aluminium. This includes metals that have a reflective surface that cannot be cut using a laser cutting system.

Laser cutting machines can be used for many other purposes than just cutting, including trimming, scribing, welding and engraving.

Plasma cutters are better suited to cutting work that involves thicker metals, whereas laser cutting is the superior choice for thinner, more intricate metals.

What are the benefits of plasma cutting?

A plasma cutting machine offers:

What are the benefits of laser cutting?

A laser cutting machine offers:

Is laser cutting or plasma cutting better?

There is no definitive answer to this question as each method of cutting materials is unique, and each one comes with its own advantages. Lasers offer more accuracy and are slightly quicker than plasma cutting machines, yet plasma cutting has the ability to cut through every single metal type, which a laser cutting cannot.

It is clear that both plasma and laser cutting have their place within the cutting industry, with each cutting process bringing its own benefits to the table. When deciding which type of cutting machine to use, take some time to think about what you need cutting and how thick it is, as this is ultimately what will lead your decision.

Need help choosing a plasma cutting machine for your cutting needs? Contact us here, and one of our friendly and knowledgeable team will talk you through our plasma cutting options and help you pick the right solution for your business.

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