When it comes to choosing the right precision cutting method, your first concern is likely the quality of the cut. Laser cutting and water jet cutting are both common and popular methods for cutting materials like metals for use in residential, commercial and industrial applications. While both of these methods might work well for your purposes, you’re probably wondering exactly what the differences are between these methods and which one is better. Understanding both methods can help give you more insight so that you make the most informed decision possible based on your specific needs.
The laser cutting process is done with a strong gas laser, such as a CO2 laser, that is concentrated into a precise beam by use of reflective materials and then used to cut the material. With laser cutting, the energy or laser source is located inside of the machine. Water jet metal cutting in San Francisco, CA, on the other hand, utilizes highly pressurized water to perform precise cuts. It is common for the pressure used in water jet cutting to measure up to 60,000 pounds per square inch. This pressurized water mimics the natural process of erosion (at a much quicker rate, of course) to accurately cut a piece of material. While both of these methods can be useful for aluminum cutting, it is important to understand their differences in order to select the best option:
- Materials: Laser cutting can be used effectively for a range of materials including glass, wood, plastic and many types of metals. Generally, laser metal cutting is used to cut things like flat sheets of relatively thin steel. Water jet metal cutting in San Francisco, CA, however, can be used for virtually any material, including some that are outside of the scope of laser cutting. Combination materials, for example, are generally not ideal for laser cutting, since the thermal nature of the laser can have various effects depending on the type of material. Additionally, laser cutting is not a viable option for most 3D material cutting.
- Hazards: Another important consideration when it comes to these types of cutting methods is the environmental and safety implications. When performed by professionals, both laser and water jet cutting can be done safely and effectively. Although the water jet cutting process tends to be quite a bit noisier than laser cutting, it doesn’t result in the same degree of hazardous and noxious fumes that are caused by laser cutting.
- Material stress: Water jet cutting is a good option since it does not put any thermal stress on materials. The heat from laser cutting can alter the physical properties of metals, resulting in deterioration or changes to the structural integrity and strength of the material. Since water jet cutting is a cold cut and is achieved through pressure rather than heat, it is a better choice when it comes to preserving the condition of materials and components.
For more information about the benefits of water jet metal cutting in San Francisco, CA, give Mach 1 Waterjet, Inc. a call. We are experienced in using water jet cutting for a variety of materials and applications to deliver the best possible product to our clients.