The laser cutting process

Laser cutting is a precise method of cutting a design from a given material using a CAD file to guide it. There are three main types of lasers used in the industry: CO2 lasers Nd and Nd-YAG. We use CO 2 machines. This involves firing a laser which cuts by melting, burning or vaporizing your material. You can achieve a really fine level of cutting detail with a wide variety of materials. Bear in mind that CO 2 lasers can’t cut metals and hard materials, they can however engrave them.

Our lasers are 90 degree, flat bed cutters which allows for 2d cutting and 3d engraving. Our machine beds can be moved so that we can engrave thicker objects than we can cut.

One of the fantastic reasons to use laser cutting over other cutting methods is the flexibility. With some cutting techniques it is not viable to do small quantities and often designs have to be the same. With laser cutting, every item could be different as the lasers are following what has been designed on the file. This allows for personalisation of bespoke products without committing to a high quantity of one design. It also can be used for prototyping new projects without too much of an outlay financially.

There has been a lot of technical advancement with lasers, not only the accuracy and materials that can be used, but more importantly the bed sizes have really increased over the last few years. Our biggest laser cutter and engraver measures in at industry leading size of 3000 x 2000mm. This enables us to take full size acrylic and plywood sheets. We can engrave the full size of the bed also.

Laser head and tolerance

Laser head cutlasercut 1

The beam is emitted from what’s called the ‘laser tube’ and is reflected by several mirrors up into the ‘laser head’ (like a periscope.) Within the head is a lens that finely focuses the beam onto the material surface for cutting or engraving.

The kerf refers to how much of the material the laser takes away when cutting through. (the width of the groove made while cutting.) This varies from material to material and is also dependent on the laser beam tolerance i.e. the width of the beam. All our machines have a very fine tolerance.

Laster Cutting Process Rebecca Lucraft

Step 1. Preparing your artwork

You send us your artwork and we check to see if it is fine for the laser cutter and the material you would like to cut. The machine reads vector strokes of hairline thickness in RED or as thin as you make them.

laser cutting process

Step 2. We'll configure the laser cutters settings

We lay your chosen material in our machine bed and configure the machine to cut your artwork. We adjust the Power, Speed and Frequency to suit your specific material. We have 9 laser cutters in our studio. The maximum sheet size we can cut is an enormous 3000×2000mm.

laser cutting process

Step 3. We process your job

The machine will then follow the path of your drawing strokes to cut out the components you have drawn.

Depending on the material, we usually use a protective backing during the laser cutting process that can be peeled away after the cutting is complete. This protects the surface from heat and burn marks.