Laser cutting metal has become more common, and as technology has improved, the precision that comes with this cutting method has improved as well. Many machine shops and metal fabrication businesses offer laser cutting services to make getting perfect cuts more manageable. Many laser cutting systems can use files generated in CAD programs to produce precision cuts.

What Is Laser Cutting?

Laser cutting is a way to cut steel and other metal using a concentrated laser that burns through the material without damaging the metal around it. The laser is often mounted on a table that allows two-axis control and a computer program that allows the operator to control the laser to cut extremely straight lines or smooth round corners. 

The program used to control the laser is similar to a CAD (computer-aided drafting) program, so there is a lot of control. Many of these systems allow you to import the CAD files and convert them so that the laser can use the dimensions for the design and make the cuts you need on the steel. 

Repeatable Precision

Cutting steel one time is simple, but if you need to cut the same parts out of steel stock several times or several hundred times, laser cutting allows the part to be cut repeatedly while maintaining precision cuts that are the same every time. Once the laser cutting service sets up the program to make the cuts, they can save it to be reloaded later if you need some cuts today and will need the same cuts later. 

For a small business producing a low quantity of a product, cutting the part in small batches is often important. The business may need a few parts now and a few more in a month. The laser cutting service can load the program and make the cuts for them with a couple of day's notice and continue to do that over time.

As the business grows and the requirements for more parts increase, the laser cutting service can ramp up the production using the original file and continue to do so no matter the required quantity of parts. 

Single Part Cutting

Laser cutting can be used to create a single part as well. If you need one specific part cut out to make a bracket or for some other use, talk with the local fabrication shop about the part you need, and they can help. You will need to give them the dimension and shape of the part you need cut out, but even a rough sketch can be helpful when the fabrication shop is creating the part on the computer.

Once the part design is complete, they will go over the part design with you then cut it out if it works for your project.