Titanium is a strong yet lightweight silver metal growing in popularity for use in the aerospace and medical industries. It’s also commonly used in jewelry, scissors and mobile phones. Another reason for its wider use is its corrosion resistance. As a common alloy, titanium is often mixed with iron, aluminum and other metals. Here are important points to know about titanium laser cutting.
Qualities of Titanium
Titanium is favored as a material used for parts in aircraft and medical devices, as it has enormous strength, which can render if difficult to cut. Titanium is also as strong as steel and weighs half as much. On the other hand, it’s much stronger than aluminum, but heavier.
Titanium is also sensitive to higher temperatures, therefore the cuts must be made at lower temperatures to avoid warping or damaging the material. When cutting titanium with traditional methods, it’s difficult to achieve clean consistent cuts. Titanium usually requires special techniques for cutting angles.
Machines and Techniques for Laser Cutting Titanium
The key to getting the most reliable cuts is to use a modern cutting machine, such as a water jet or laser cutter. A computer numerical control (CNC) machine simplifies the cutting process through programming and automation. It’s an effective choice for high volume titanium laser cutting of plate, sheet, tube or bar stock to make highly detailed parts.
With a CNC machine, you can program precise cuts made by a laser beam that heats metal to a level of drilling holes or removing material. Cuts are programed using X, Y and Z axes. The material moves under a stationary cutting head that executes the cut. A fiber laser machine is useful for cutting, engraving, etching or marking titanium.
One of the primary techniques for cutting thick strong material such as titanium is to use high assist gas pressures while maintaining or increasing high feed rates. Gas pressure and speed variables play a big role in protecting material from melting or burning around edges. Use of an inert gas such as nitrogen helps cut down on oxidation reactions and cools the material.
Due to the low density and high strength-to-weight ratio of titanium, cutting this metal alloy is more complex than cutting other metals. It’s often best to outsource to experts if you need a high volume of precision cuts. Contact us at Serra Laser to learn more about titanium laser cutting for your projects.