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Fivetide
09-08-2013, 09:37 AM
What wattage laser cutter would I need to cut up to and no more than 8mm thick ally ? My next project will require a lot of exact same size blanks cutting out. Nothing big, maximum so far would be 140mm x 30mm. Iíve made prototypes on the CNC but itís a hell of a lot of faffing about with re-seating and tool changes for some fairly boring shaped pieces. After watching a YouTube vid of a laser flashing through 5 cut-outs in a 5 mins I thought that might be the way to go. Also the quick engraving as Iím using flat plate was intriguing in its simplicity , no cooling or swarf is also a massive bonus.

John S
09-08-2013, 10:07 AM
3.5Kw would cut 8mm but to get a decent edge you need 5Kw.
That means you require a dedicated 200 amp per phase 3 phase supply and a premium account at BOC or Air Products.

Web Goblin
09-08-2013, 10:17 AM
Ali takes quite a bit of power to cut,ie 8mm ali would be a push for a 3KW laser but the same machine will happily cut 18mm mild steel. A 3Kw co2 laser would just do it but as Hobnobs says more power is better. Also for Ali cutting an anti back reflection kit is recommended.

Fivetide
09-08-2013, 10:40 AM
3.5Kw would cut 8mm but to get a decent edge you need 5Kw.
That means you require a dedicated 200 amp per phase 3 phase supply and a premium account at BOC or Air Products.

Well that idea has been crushed to nano thinkness :( I suppos if it goes well i could look to get them outsourced for cutting.


Ali takes quite a bit of power to cut,ie 8mm ali would be a push for a 3KW laser but the same machine will happily cut 18mm mild steel. A 3Kw co2 laser would just do it but as Hobnobs says more power is better. Also for Ali cutting an anti back reflection kit is recommended.

What about 1mm deep engraving then ? or say 3mm deep ally cutting ?

John S
09-08-2013, 10:49 AM
Forget it, you are still into the realms of big boys toys, plenty of space needed, big power supplies and the gas bill alone would be enough to put you on oxygen but you wouldn't be able to afford it :grumpy:

Find a decent company and outsource it, however no one is going to engrave 1mm deep, that's rotary tooling territory

Fivetide
09-08-2013, 11:29 AM
Forget it, you are still into the realms of big boys toys, plenty of space needed, big power supplies and the gas bill alone would be enough to put you on oxygen but you wouldn't be able to afford it :grumpy:

Find a decent company and outsource it, however no one is going to engrave 1mm deep, that's rotary tooling territory

Thanks John , I'm just exploring possibility’s , if you don’t ask you will never know lol , yeah I think outsourced is the way forward to cut the blanks and then finish them off on the CNC.

Web Goblin
09-08-2013, 01:48 PM
As John says engraving to that depth aint going to look nice on a laser because you are cutting rather than engraving.
Can you get them plasma cut and finish them?

Boscoe
09-08-2013, 02:07 PM
Why does 3.5KW require 200A per phase three phase? 200A = 240,000KW

Fivetide
09-08-2013, 03:05 PM
As John says engraving to that depth aint going to look nice on a laser because you are cutting rather than engraving.
Can you get them plasma cut and finish them?

I can do them nicely on the CNC it’s just like i said the faffing around. I don’t have a vac table so I have been making homemade clamps. Plasma if the stuff I get off AW is an awful edge when cut. It was just speculation, I can carry on as I am quite easily until I need a hundred done at any one time then I’ll phone around for price.

John S
09-08-2013, 03:56 PM
Why does 3.5KW require 200A per phase three phase? 200A = 240,000KW

The 3kw is laser ouput and they are not that efficient, plus there are the chiller units, CNc bit, table etc, the laser bits and all the ancillaries like sheet loading, crane, bed changing etc.

OK I know these are not needed for a small operation but at 300K a pop for a laser you DO WANT all the bells and whistles.