Tube Laser Cutting: Everything You Need To Know

Laser tube cutting is one of the most popular processes used in manufacturing amongst industries like automotive, aerospace and construction, whether for structural support or larger assemblies. Find out what exactly goes into creating a tube laser-cutting product.

What Is Laser Tube Cutting?

It’s important to know what you’re looking at before investing. The tube laser cutting process cuts tubes, structural shapes, or channels. In addition, some machines can drill, etch and mark materials.

How Does Tube Laser Cutting Work?

As mentioned above, laser beams pierce through walls of metal tubes or pipes. The laser beam is focused on the surface of the tube, creating a narrow and intense beam of light that melts and vaporizes the metal. The laser cutting machine utilizes a powerful laser beam that focuses on the materials and vaporizes the metal at contact, producing an excellent clean cut.

Steps To Laser Tube Cutting

  1. Prep: A tube or pipe is mounted to a machine to help hold things in place during the cut. Most of the time, the laser cutting machine is programmed with a specific cutting pattern and dimensions.
  2.  Focus: The laser beam focuses on the surface using a lens that helps determine the thickness and width of the laser cut.
  3.  Cut: The beam is activated along the tube to create the cut. The laser cuts through the tube wall, leaving a smooth and precise edge.
  4.  Finish: After the cut, sharp edges or burrs are removed through post-processing techniques such as deburring or sanding.

Why Use Tube Laser?

Tube laser cutting offers several advantages over traditional methods. It is more precise, faster, and can easily cut complex shapes and patterns. It also produces less waste material and is more environmentally friendly.

Automated laser tube cutting machines can run high-volume parts with automatic loading and part unloading while also being able to cost-eectively cut a low-volume component because of the fast setup and changeover times.

The most significant value of laser tube cutting becomes apparent when considering the laser’s capabilities during a product’s design stage. Speed, quality, flexibility, and repeatability are benefits that can be used to the designer’s advantage.

Types Of Laser Cutting Machines

There are many laser-cutting machines and their popularity varies depending on the applications, industries, and budgets. Here are some of the most popular and how they are used:

  1. UV Machine: This uses ultraviolet to cut glass, ceramics, etc. You’ll likely see these machines in the electronics, semiconductor, and solar industries.
  2.  Fiber Machine: This machine uses a solid-state laser to cut materials like steel, aluminum, and copper. You’ll likely see these used more in the automotive, aerospace, and metal fabrication industries.
  3.  CO2 Machine: This uses a gas laser to cut acrylic, wood, paper, leather, and fabrics. Most of the time, you’ll see this type of machine used in the signage industry, woodworking, or textile.
  4.  Nd:YAG: Uses a crystal laser to cut metals, plastics, and ceramics. They are commonly used in the medical, dental, and jewelry industries.
  5.  Galvo Machine: This machine uses a laser beam to mark or engrave materials such as metals, plastics, and ceramics. A lot of the time, you’ll see these in the aerospace, automotive, and electronics industries.

File Formats

To cut a design in the chosen material machines usually have programming software to help automate the process from the initial design to production. Most of the time, it is an actual CAD/CAM interface. Here are some file types we see used:

  • .STP
  • .IGS
  • .X_T
  • .IFC

Popular Brands Of Tube Laser Machines

There are many tube laser cutting machine brands available on the market. Some of the top brands based on their reputation, product quality, and customer satisfaction are:

  1. Trumpf
  2. Bystronic
  3. Amada
  4. Mazak

Choosing a tube laser cutting brand depends on many factors, such as the material, tube diameter, thickness, etc. Considering all factors before deciding on a machine and a metal fabricator is essential.

We’re Here For Your Tube Laser Needs!

If you’re looking for a metal fabricator specializing in tube laser cutting, let us be your go-to. For more information about our services and to receive a quote, get in touch here.

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