Stainless steel has become a popular material in various industries due to its exceptional durability, corrosion resistance, and aesthetic appeal. When it comes to precision cutting of stainless steel, laser cutters have emerged as a reliable and efficient solution. In this article, we will help you choose laser cutting machine for stainless steel by introducing the working principle, advantages, price and other aspects of stainless steel laser cutter.
What is Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel is a type of steel alloy that contains a minimum of 10.5% chromium, which gives it its unique corrosion-resistant properties.
Stainless steel is widely used in various industries and applications due to its excellent corrosion resistance and versatility. It is commonly used for kitchen appliances, cutlery, cookware, surgical instruments, construction materials, automotive parts, and in the production of pipes, tanks, and architectural structures.
How to Laser Cut Stainless Steel?
The laser beam is fed to the stainless steel plate with high energy density heat energy, which rapidly vaporizes the metal, and the vaporized metal is blown away by a gas stream such as nitrogen or oxygen. The laser beam moves very fast so that the metal can be cut very quickly. Stainless steel is a non-heat conductive body and is difficult to heat and cool quickly by conduction during laser cutting, so it needs to be melted and oxidized by a high energy density laser beam.
Which stainless steels can be processed with a laser cutting machine?
Laser cutting is a versatile and widely used method for cutting various materials, including stainless steel. However, the process may vary depending on the type and thickness of the stainless steel being cut. Generally, with the proper machine configuration, parameter settings, power and appropriate auxiliary gases, all stainless steel alloys can be cut with a laser.
Austenitic Stainless Steels: These stainless steels are the most commonly used and are easily laser cut. Examples include grades like 304, 316, and 321.
304 series stainless steel is the most widely used metal for industrial robotics, decoration, kitchenware and automated machinery. It is durable, strong and easy to use. 316 stainless steels are suitable for more corrosive, high exposure applications.
It’s important to note that the laser cutting process may be influenced by the specific composition and thickness of the stainless steel. Laser cutting machines with appropriate power levels and cutting parameters can be adjusted to accommodate different grades and thicknesses of stainless steel.
Why Use Laser Cutting Stainless Steel?
Laser cutting is a preferred manufacturing method for stainless steel due to its precision, versatility, speed, and the high-quality cuts it produces. It is widely utilized in industries such as automotive, aerospace, architecture, electronics, and many others where stainless steel components are required.
- When processing stainless steel, laser cutting offers significant advantages over other metal processing methods. Laser technology does not involve any forces or deformations and therefore does not cause any process hardening.
- When laser cutting is performed under optimal conditions, it produces fused and fairly smooth edges that rarely require post-treatment, and secondary operations are both time consuming and costly.
- Laser cutting is an excellent choice for a variety of stainless steel fabrication projects because it can produce both complex and conventional shapes.
- It can make multiple cuts at once, allowing for the production of high quality parts at low cost, which means less waste and more profit.
Unlike traditional metal cutting methods, laser cutting allows for high volume production of parts with tight tolerances. In addition to high accuracy, this method allows multiple cuts to be made at once, which means less labor is required and fewer errors are made. This makes the process ideal for mass production businesses as well.
How to Find the Best Stainless Steel Fiber Laser?
1. Cutting Speed:
The cutting speed of a fiber laser cutting machine is determined by the material thickness and the power of the fiber laser. The cutting speed increases with decreasing material thickness and increasing laser power. If the cutting speed is too fast, there may be a lot of stripes on the cut surface. If the cutting speed is too slow, there may be a lot of burrs on the cut surface.
2. Cutting Quality:
Factors that affect the cutting edge quality of stainless steel in fiber laser cutting include power density, laser focus position, gas nozzle settings, stainless steel material properties, and cutting speed. These factors are interrelated and require tuning and optimization to achieve the best cutting results. Additionally, the skill level of the operator and the maintenance status of the equipment also impact the cutting quality.
3. Cutting Thickness:
A fiber laser cutting machine can quickly and precisely cut thin to medium thickness sheets with great cleanliness. The higher the laser power, the thicker the sheet that can be cut. However, for a given set thickness and laser power, increasing the thickness of the sheet may lead to a decrease in cutting quality.
For stainless steel with a thickness of 5mm, a 1000W fiber laser cutting machine can achieve a maximum cutting speed of 0.6m per minute, while a 2000W laser cutting machine can achieve a maximum cutting speed of 1.8m per minute.
|Stainless steel(201)||1||8-13||18-25||24-30||30-42||40-55||60- 80|
By comparing these parameters, it is evident that higher power allows for faster cutting speeds when dealing with the same type and thickness of material. If your laser source brand is Raycus, you can refer to the parameters provided in this article.
4. Cutting Range:
Choosing the size of a laser cutting machine requires considering the area and thickness of the sheets to be processed. Generally, the processing area of the laser cutting machine needs to be slightly larger than the size of the sheets to ensure an adequate cutting range. However, as the cutting bed area increases, the price of the cutting machine also tends to increase accordingly.
5. Selection of Auxiliary Gas:
In high-pressure or inert gas cutting, the main function of the auxiliary gas is to protect the cutting edge from oxide accumulation and quickly and cleanly blow away the molten material before it adheres to the edge and forms burrs. In laser cutting of stainless steel, commonly used auxiliary gases include nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (O2).
Nitrogen: Nitrogen is the most commonly used auxiliary gas in stainless steel processing due to its good cutting performance and excellent cost-effectiveness. However, using nitrogen for cutting stainless steel can slow down the cutting speed and cause some thermal deformation.
Oxygen: Using oxygen as an auxiliary gas for cutting stainless steel typically results in faster cutting speeds, but it can lead to oxidation on the cut surface.
The choice of which auxiliary gas to use depends on the requirements for cutting quality and the priority given to cutting speed. In practical applications, experiments and testing are usually conducted to find the most suitable auxiliary gas for specific materials and cutting requirements.
Can Laser Etching, Engraving and Marking on Stainless Steel?
Yes, laser cutting machine can use for etching, engraving, and marking stainless steel surfaces. Laser technology allow for creating permanent and detailed designs, texts, logos, or patterns on stainless steel materials.
The specific laser parameters, such as power, speed, and beam focus, it needs multiple debugging to achieve the desired results based on the stainless steel type and its engraving needs.
Software for Laser Cutting Machine
Laser cutter software contains both design and control software.
1. Design Software: This part of the laser cutting software allows users to create or import their designs. It often includes features such as drawing tools, shape libraries, image importing capabilities, and text editing options. Users can design or modify their desired shapes, patterns, or text elements using this software. Popular design software for laser cutting includes Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, AutoCAD, or dedicated laser cutting design software.
2. Control Software: The control software is responsible for communication and control of the laser cutting machine. It acts as an interface between the design software and the laser cutter. The control software translates the design into machine-readable instructions, such as movement patterns, laser power settings, and cutting parameters. It also allows users to define the cutting sequence, set the speed, power, and other specific parameters. The control software ensures proper execution of the design on the actual laser cutting machine.
In some cases, laser cutting software combines both design and control functionalities into a single integrated software package. This allows seamless workflow from design creation to machine control within a single user interface.
The Best Fiber Laser Cutting Machine for Stainless Steel?
Stainless Steel Laser Cutting Machine Price
Laser cutting machines for processing stainless steel vary greatly depending on features and functionality. Starting prices range from about $3,000 to $50,000.
Fiber lasers are typically 5 to 10 times more expensive to purchase than CO2 lasers, but they are more productive, have much lower maintenance and power costs, and fiber CNC laser cutting machine are better for stainless steel cutting than CO2.
Entry-level laser machines are best suited for thin material cutting, marking and engraving. How to choose the metal laser cutting machine for stainless steel.
You can try to answer the following questions to help us recommend the right laser cutting machine for you.
- What are your main processing requirements? Is precision laser processing required?
- Laser cutting or laser engraving (marking) or laser punching?
- What material do you need to laser process?
- What is the size and thickness of the material?
- What is the material used for after laser processing? What is your end product?
When purchasing a laser cutting machine, it’s crucial to consider more than just the price tag. While affordability is important, the machine’s processing results and the manufacturer’s service should not be overlooked. Investing in a machine that delivers consistent and reliable performance is essential. The service provided by the supplier ensures that your investment is protected in the long run. Opting for a momentary bargain price may result in numerous issues during subsequent use, leading to significant losses. Therefore, it is wise to prioritize quality and long-term support over immediate cost savings.