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laser cutting aluminum

laser cutting aluminum

(OP)
Hi
I have a design where I was hoping to laser cut some holes in telescoping aluminum tubing. A vendor told me that the nature of the beast is spatter on the inside of tubes.

I am just curious, is this a matter of technique/ equipment, or an unavoidable result of laser cutting aluminum?

1" tube (with a couple 1/4" holes lasered in), .058 wall with an .875 tube telescoping inside.
Also, was planning on having the tubes cut to length via laser.

does this eliminate laser if I need telescoping functionality? I may re-design to avoid the need for telescoping if this is the case- laser cutting is so much cheaper than machining!

thanks for your expertise!

RE: laser cutting aluminum

The material in the kerf has to go somewhere, so yes, there may be some spatter inside the tubes. How tightly adhered it will be is another matter, but it might vary in how easily cleaned/removed it will be. You might think about water jet cutting.

RE: laser cutting aluminum

Our mazak laser cuts tubing on a daily basis and the only way we have come to get rid of it is either by putting a bar on the inside of the tube to catch the spatter (which on aluminum there wont be much as it will mostly be easily knocked off with sandpaper), or we use a high grade of anti-spatter and put the power/freq/duty at the lowest possible setting while maintaining a quick pace.

Our tubing is generally stainless and mild steel ranging from 3/16" to 3/8" wall thickness and the most we have to do to deburr and clean them out is to run a wire wheel through it.

Good luck with your job and I hope you're able to figure something out.

RE: laser cutting aluminum

Your vendor is correct. The splatter inside the tubes is unavoidable. However, recast edge on the outer part - avoidable. It's all about the technique. When you say laser cutting is so much cheaper what do you mean by that? As compared to what?

Over 30 Years of Industrial Laser Marking Systems Manufacturing http://www.cmslaser.com/laser-capabilities/laser-m...

RE: laser cutting aluminum

(OP)
Water jet tubes? Can that be done Biggums? I just assumed no...

Lasercms, compared to machining. I assume punching will cost more, at least at scalable prototype volumes- could be wrong tho, i didn't dig. Is there a better option? Also need shapes cut in the tube.

RE: laser cutting aluminum

I've seen a few ways to deal with this- use a lens with a short focal length, as mentioned. put something inside the tube to catch the spatter. suck on one end of the tube really hard with a dust collector. Spatter spray.

Chris Krug http://krugtech.com/
Maximum Up-time, Minimum BS

RE: laser cutting aluminum

This sounds like a very easy operation that a low powered laser (or even a high powered one if they have any idea what they are doing) can accomplish. There are plenty of videos on youtube of this same feat being accomplished on both square and round tubing with very minimal spatter.

On the contrary though, you WON'T be able to do this without damaging the .875 telescoped tube if it has to be present during the operation (obviously) if there was any confusion there. The laser will eat up the inside material if it is that close to the cut.

RE: laser cutting aluminum

Laser cutting is quite a bit cheaper than machining if the cut is complicated... but merely chopping bar stock to length? A chop saw will be WAY cheaper than a laser, unless processing speed (or assembly line setup) warrants using the laser to avoid the extra step.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: laser cutting aluminum

Using a Black Magic lens will help with spatter when cutting aluminum. This lens works if you're not using a pierce sensor. Just a thought.

RE: laser cutting aluminum

(OP)
update:
I redesigned the assembly to eliminate the need for telescoping tubing (cost was the main motivator, part count went from 3 to 1).

now it's all 1" tube. but I have another issue, with a new thread to address it.
Please have a look

http://www.eng-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=408374

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