Copper is a vital component in many industrial, technological, and engineering projects. Cutting copper is a challenging task because the metal is more of a reflector than an absorber of infrared laser light. While there are several different types of laser cutters, we most often recommend fiber lasers for cutting copper and other non-ferrous metals. Below we’ll share a little more about why, and how the advanced machinery at Serra Laser can help you get the best results from your copper manufacturing process.
Why Manufacturers Choose Copper
The main advantages to using copper for industrial manufacturing are its thermal and electrical conductivity properties, as well as its resistance to corrosion. It can also be converted into wire or shaped in various ways without losing its strength. The laser cut copper strategy is useful for cutting materials used in construction, electronics, and plumbing. Copper is also highly effective for creating alloys with other metals. These alloys hold many of the same properties as copper, and therefore pose the same challenges when determining the best way to cut.
Selecting the Right Laser Cutter for Copper
Even though there are a wide variety of options available for cutting copper, some of them work better than others.
Traditionally, a CO2 laser was used to cut copper due to its ability to cleanly cut thick material. However, the sheet of copper had to be coated with a graphite spray or milk of magnesia in order to prevent reflections, which could damage the laser. For a long time, CO2 lasers were the best way to cut copper and a popular choice in the industry at large. More advanced technology came into play around 2008 with the fiber laser. Fiber laser cutting made cutting copper more efficient and economical, as the beam does not reflect back into the resonator and cause damage.
Fiber laser cutters are also a strong choice for cutting copper because they can cut a versatile thickness of materials, from thin to thick. Fiber lasers can also cut a high volume of materials, making production faster for manufacturers.
Making Purchasing Decisions
Here at Serra Laser, we handle cutting and milling for many different manufacturers, which gives us a chance to see different styles of metal fabrication up close and personal. We have experience with many different kinds of machines, from traditional CO2 laser cutters to waterjet and plasma cutters. Depending on the planned use and application, these alternative cutting methods may be preferable. However, when cutting copper, we usually utilize a fiber laser cutter in order to get the best results for our clients.
We also sell cutting machines, working closely with buyers to determine the best cutting machine for their needs. When it comes to cutting copper, we usually recommend one of our amazing fiber laser machines, such as the IPG Fiber LaserCube flatbed cutter, which is excellent for small parts, or the Hands Fiber Laser machine, which is ideal for large sheets and thicker materials.
Despite copper’s reflective qualities that make it challenging for cutting, it can be cut by various laser cutters. Contact us at Serra Laser & Waterjet for further information about laser cut copper.