Laser, waterjet, plasma cutting? Nearly everyone dealing with metal fabrication might question which one to choose. There is no definite answer. It depends on various factors like its process and what you value the most.
To solve your issue below is the breakdown of their process and advantages/disadvantages.
The laser slits the material through the nozzle that gives incredible focus to the light beam through the curved lens. Laser cutting is all about preciseness and accuracy.
The focused beam vaporizes the material into gas, which makes it perfect for accuracy.
What can it cut?
Laser cutting is a little more versatile when it comes to cutting a variety of materials. It can slit plastic, rubber, wood, ceramic, and many other metals with accuracy. Laser cutting offers you the edgy quality, over the sheet, plate, and tube.
Advantages of Laser Cutting
- Laser cutting is a speedy process.
- It allows you to cut complex shapes at a faster pace.
- Can cut metals and non-metals.
- Can work on material with a variety of thicknesses.
- Laser cutting is reliable.
Disadvantages of Laser Cutting
- Laser cutting involves higher capital costs than plasma and waterjet.
- High power consumption.
- It is difficult to use on reflective metals.
- Requires the safety measures to protect the operator.
- It can cause micro-fracturing on some materials.
Waterjet cutting is the process that uses a high-pressure jet of water. Or you can say a combination of water and an abrasive substance to slit the various materials.
What can it cut?
Waterjets are able to cut anything; stainless steel, titanium, aluminum, ceramics, granite, and the materials that are sensitive to high temperatures. It can cut almost any shape with precision and a blur-free edge.
It uses the same tool for different kinds of materials, so you do not need to switch it every time. But this process creates a big volume of cutting waste as compared to Laser.
- Can cut any kind of material.
- It doesn’t overheat the materials and thus maintains its form.
- It can slit even thicker materials.
- It is a highly accurate process.
- It generates no fumes.
Disadvantages of Waterjet Cutting
- This process creates abrasive dust that can hinder the movement of machine parts.
- Sometimes this process can be noisy.
- This process can be slow on some materials as compared to laser and plasma cutting.
- The abrasive materials tend to be costly.
- Overflow of the water can create EPA issues.
Plasma cutting uses a plasma torch to slit the material. An electrically conductive gas moves energy from an electrical power source through the torch.
The nozzle offers the focus to the plasma arc and funnels the gas flow while the electrode bears the current. The swirl ring then allows gases to exit the rings at different temperatures.
Also while buying the plasma cutting machine, make sure the machine has esab plasma cutter consumables and Hypertherm hpr260 consumables as they are easy to find and replace.
What can it cut?
Plasma cutting is apt for cutting materials like stainless steel, aluminum, and copper. It can slit both ferrous and nonferrous metals, but non-conductive substances such as wood or plastic can’t be cut.
- Plasma cutting can work on a variety of materials.
- Varieties of table lengths and sizes are available.
- Recent advancement in technology offers a better result.
- The price of the plasma cutter can up to one-third of the similar-sized laser machine.
- One can learn the process quickly.
- Plasma cutting is not as accurate as Laser or Waterjet.
- This process creates fumes.
- Not as flexible as the laser cutting process of thin and thick materials.
- The cutting head components need to be changed for different metals and metal thickness.
While selecting the cutting methods it’s essential to note down their process, advantages, and are your requirements. Hence, while purchasing any device you must know what it offers and your requirements. Try to operate plasma cutting machines with good quality parts like esab plasma cutter consumables.